Supreme Court Of Judicature Marston Gibson Amendment Act?

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The Saturday Sun of March 20, 2011, reported that the House of Assembly passed an amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act just after mid-night. That amendment partly paved the way for Mr. Marston Gibson to become the next Chief Justice of this country.

The lead-up to the amendment generated a considerable amount of controversy, and I would have been interested in the debate. Unfortunately, it took place after my bedtime. Many persons in this country rightly expressed abhorrence when they realized that the amendment was being done to facilitate one predetermined candidate. Their abhorrence would have been more acute if they were aware that it is normal practice to change qualifications to enable the appointment of individuals, who did not make the grade.

This matter with the Chief Justice only came to light because the qualifications for that post are found in the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, and any changes would require amendments to that Act. On the other hand, in the Public Service, when Government wants to change the qualifications to facilitate a particular individual, the Minister for the Civil Service merely signs an order to amend the Civil Establishments (Qualifications) Order, which is generally done in secret. In most cases, public officers only find out about the changes when they are about to apply for a senior post or when they are overlooked for promotion.

By way of example, when a vacancy occurred in the office of Chief Marshal, the candidates required: “Approved qualification in Public Administration AND Para-legal Studies” among other things. The qualifications were changed by replacing “AND” with “OR” in order to facilitate the preferred candidate.

Now Government has spent a lot of time and goodwill to ensure that their choice for the office of Chief Justice meets the requirements of the Act, but does he, even with the amendments? The amendments which apply to Mr. Gibson’s case state, in part:

(2) A person is qualified for appointment as Chief Justice or as judge of the Court of Appeal who

(d) is qualified to practice as an attorney-at-law in Barbados and has practiced as such in Barbados, in some part of the Commonwealth or in a common law jurisdiction for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to not less than, 15 years.

(3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), a person is qualified for appointment under those subsections if that person

(a) has been qualified to practice as an attorney-at-law in Barbados for the periods specified in those subsections; and

(b) is a professor or teacher of law at the University of the West Indies or at a School for Legal Education approved by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

Even without the benefit of legal training, I can foresee problems trying to make this amendment apply to Mr. Gibson. Firstly, the amendment did not define the term “common law”. He is practicing in the New York, and the obvious question would be, is New York a common law jurisdiction for the purposes of Barbados law. The answer can be found in the Interpretation Act, Section 3 states:

Every provision of this Act shall extend and apply to every enactment whether passed or made before or after 16th June 1966; unless a contrary intention appears in this Act or in the enactment.

In addition, Section 46 of the Interpretation Act provides that the expression “common law” means the common law of England. Mr. Gibson is therefore not practicing in a common law jurisdiction that is recognised as such by the laws of Barbados.

Secondly, if Government was able to surmount the obstacle of England versus US common law: they would still find a problem because subsection 3 of the amendment act provides that the candidate would have been qualified to practice as an attorney-at-law in Barbados for periods specified in subsection (1) and (2), that is 15 years, and is a professor or teacher of law at the University of the West Indies. He was a teacher of law at UWI Cave Hill some time ago but clearly, he is not now in order to comply with the amendment act.

Whatever the outcome of my not so legal opinion, I expect some fancy statutory interpretation to make Mr. Gibson fit into the office of Chief Justice.

0 thoughts on “Supreme Court Of Judicature Marston Gibson Amendment Act?

  1. Caswell ya bad! If what you are saying is true then more confusion is imminent! I must do my own research into some of this. Maybe you can point me in the right direction.

  2. caswell

    I don’t think you have the section 3 part d correct. it states

    is qualified to practise as an attorney-at-law in
    Barbados and has practised as such in Barbados,
    in some part of the Commonwealth or in a common
    law jurisdiction for a period of, or periods
    amounting in the aggregate to not less than, 15 years.

    so even if he did pratice in the us it would count but only on the correct interpreation of the act which you have it stated to mean English common law. They hadda go back and do more amending if they want gibson appointed

  3. The law is also changed when it becomes necessary to fire as was the case for the post of Chief Electrical Engineer back in the early 1990’s.

    Seventeen years in court then followed!!

  4. The internet is a font of information. Had Mr. Franklyn taken the trouble to look-up Common Law he would know that the United States, like Barbados, was once a colony of England and like Barbados adopted the Common Laws of England?

  5. @HG. Mr Franklyn has not bothered to look it up, because it would ruin his argument and fatally impugne his case. At least he has the sense to say that he is not a legal person and neither, in my opinion, is the person who formulated his case for him – or if they are, a refresher course in law seems a vital necessity.

  6. i wouldn’t be surprised if the govt put its foot in its mouth again. they run the govt like a political campaign. just say and do anything hoping that it would go unchallenged and if challenged resort to demonising tactics. no reasoning. no effort to think things through. political fluff at every turn. hence alt of constitutional and administrative blunders in ministerial acting appointments since mr thompson was in and out of office but except for ezra alleyne liitle hue and cry from the fourth estate. sometime time ago in an interview on radio, mr lowe said he is fit and ready to return to his job and as far as he is concerned is still the minister of he? deafening silence from the party. i have not done any checks to verify caswell’s assertion yet but i wouldn’t be surprised if he is correct.

  7. to HG and Amused- you touched on the common law aspect. what about the issue ” is a profesor or teacher of law at the university of the west indies” caswell made the point ‘not was’. does the internet speak to this?

  8. @ruth arnetta. My contention from the first is that Chief Justice Gibson has held a license to practice law in Barbados for over 20 years. Thus, he is qualified for the post of Chief Justice WITHOUT any change in the law.

    The law has changed and Chief Justice Gibson has not only held a license to practice law in Barbado for over 15 years (which means he is deemed to have practiced law), he has also practiced law in a common law jurisdiction for over 15 years. Under the law, therefore, he s doubly qualified and his tenure as a lecturer in law at UWI is therefore irrelevant.

    I am advised that Chief Justice Gibson will be arriving within weeks to take up his post. The untenable posturings are over. There is no legal challenge, merited or meritless, to Chief Justice Gibson taking up his post and starting the uphill struggle to gave Barbados back the justice system of which it was deprived by persons and parties all of which we know.

    Now, this is unlikely to satisfy you or to remove you from your rickety and laughable soap box. But hey, what the hell, this is a democracy and it is your constitutional right to be a fool if you wish – and it is OUR constitutional right to laugh at you if we so desire – and on this issue, I am laughing.

  9. congratulations, Amused but remember- he who laughs last laughs the loudest as is the case now with the dlp’s handling of of the clico debacle and their inability to manage the affairs of the country properly.

  10. @HG

    Dale Marshall made mention of the point you have raised. He indicated the US is better described as a hybrid of a civil and common las jurisdiction.

    Noticed the Nation has given prominence to Caswell’s letter to the editor. This matter of the CJ’s appointment needs to be put to bed

  11. to david-would never be put to bed because of the slipshod manner in which it was done’- like a thief in the night. ever heard of the dictum”haste makes waste” the chickens would soon come home to roost.

  12. @ruth

    Perhaps you are correct because the discussing continues about the appointment of David Simmons. Although not illegal without a doubt an insensitive appointment of the worst kind.

  13. Why would one ignore the express meaning of the common law in the Interpretation Act for some fanciful bush law by Amused? Caswell has a good point!

  14. Amused
    Please read this slowly. You have completely missed the boat. I did not say that the US is not a common law jurisdiction. I said, for the purposes of the laws of Barbados, it is not. Our law clearly states that “common law” means the common law of England.
    United States cases are not decided based on decisions of the English courts. The two systems separated in 1776.

    Why would you think that someone formulated my case? Maybe it is because you judge me by your own yardstick, since you cannot think for yourself. Fortunately, right or wrong, I think for myself. Can you honestly say the same?

    Mr. Gibson is reported to be a judicial referee. I also checked the internet. Judicial referee are not necessarily lawyers: depending on the complexity of a case the judge might appoint a referee to deal with technical areas that are outside the judge’s competence. For example in complex financial matters, a judicial referee could be an accountant. The referee would hear the case and advise the judge of his opinion. In cases like this the judicial referee cannot decide the case.
    A judicial referee could be said to be practicing law for twenty years in much the same way as a policeman who goes to law school and qualify but continue to direct traffic for twenty years. Oh, by the way, I formulated that argument by myself.

  15. @Anonus

    We gone thru the arguments before. we said they need to change. amused said no. In the end they change them not to face court battles. This is another case where cracks in legislation may need to be dealt with again. I sure we have some people say nassua county is under common law while other say it hybrid. It boils down to a simple question. Is Nassau county a county which uses english common law or not. The answer would tell us if they going back to edit the amendment again or leave it as is.

  16. Look, Franklyn, you argue how you like. I done with this subject. I am happy to wait and see if you are right, or me.

  17. This is incredibly amusing.

    My Bajan brethren, some of whom may even have very high levels of education can’t seem to understand or are oblivious to the fact that the law is practised in a similar way in England, the USA and Canada.

    To continuously demand an exact interpretation of a Barbados law as a close derivative of English law makes no sense.

    Then there is the simplistic notion that a Barbadian with a Law degrees from UWI and the UK who then goes to practice in the USA and on occasion lectures at the UWI and who is a proven Scholar, cannot be a suitable Chief Justice of Barbados.

    Its is completely absurd that an INDEPENDENT country since 1966 can still be so tethered to the Colonial slave masters that some of the “people” cannot make a reasoned decision unless it is based it on close interpretation of the laws of “The mother Country”.

    Any uh wunna get invite to de royal weddin?

  18. Amused man you can done just so.

    You battin good good an now you runnin way from de sweet water duh bowlin bout hey?

  19. There is one state in the US in which common law is not used.

    That is Louisiana … according to wikipedia, and that is so because until the early 1800’s, Louisiana was French.

    A lawyer practising in the state of Louisiana thus practises under a different system to one who practises in other states.

    It would seem that one would have to be careful when making generalisations about the legal system in the USA in arriving at a general principle.

    Luckily Mr. Gibson does not seem to have practised in the state of Louisiana.

    I wonder what would have happened if he had!!

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the wiki “definition”.

  20. @Hants. Comes a time when you can either let things take their course, or continue to provide attention to people with a lost political agenda. I would prefer to watch with great amusement as they try to engage someone – anyone – so they can continue to push their lost and dead agenda. I think it best to reserve my comments for something that is current (like the changes, as yet unstated, that Chief Justice Gibson has intimated he has in mind) rather than the fait accompli of his appointment. I support BU’s call to welcome the Chief and give him all our support.

  21. Without Favour: Let the truth speak. “Common Law”

    “The ancient law of England based upon societal customs and recognized and enforced by the judgments and decrees of the courts. The general body of statues and case law that governed England and the American colonies prior to the American Revolution.”

    “The Common-law system prevails in England, The United States, and other countries colonized by England. It is distinct from the civil-law system, which predominates in Europe and in areas colonized by France and Spain. The common-law system is used in all the states of the United States except Louisiana, where French civil law combined with English Criminal Law to form a hybrid system. The common-law system is also used in Canada except in the Province of Quebec, where the French civil-law system prevails”

    It is all over, based on “Law”.

  22. Amused;
    I enjoy reading your pieces on the MG situation but I did’nt know that you were also a mind reader as this extract from your post above suggests (my emphasis)

    “I think it best to reserve my comments for something that is current (like the changes, as yet unstated, that Chief Justice Gibson has intimated he has in mind)”


  23. @checkit-out. Go look at the interview that the Nation had with Marston Gibson the night vote on the Act was taken, just before the Act was taken. How would you interpret that? Seems to me that there IS only one interpretation. Please give us your thoughts, after you have read it.

    • @ruth

      It was more than insensitive, it betrayed the tenet on which the independence is built, i.e. the appearance of separating the executive and judiciary

  24. to david- insensitive yes- but not requiring a change in law to cover up incompetence. nevertheless, out of evil sometimes comes good, perhaps his first order of business would be to bring the facts relating to clico into the open no matter whose corns they mash.

    • @Caswell

      You have walked the halls next to former Chief Justice as a personal assistant when he was a politician.

      We believe you are familiar with the workings of the court and many of the officers who work in the registry and other departments whick make up the judicature.

      Would you say in your best judgement that the kind of change we need to bring needed change/efficiency to the judicature could have been done by appointing sitting judge?

  25. Amused; I recall reading the interview and I would be totally with you if you had referred to changes hinted rather than unstated changes intimated. But my point is not a serious one.

  26. A CJ with a background in a US jurisdiction should be like a breath a fresh air given the past.

    It would have been better, however, if fiddling with the law was not necessary to secure his appointment and had occurred proactively because it made sense instead of reactively because it was a necessity.

  27. I wonder what it is about Gibson’s appointment that people would examine every jot and tittle to try to disqualify him. Perhaps “Amused” is correct and he will shake up the system.


    So the author is a former assistant to the former CJ? (Am raising a quizzical eyebrow here)


  28. The cut and paste artists on BU must note that Wikipedia is NOT recognised as a reliable site for referencing in academia.

    @ David
    And what image does this impending appointment, given the amendment, portray?

  29. @enuff

    Wikepedia has shown to be sufficiently rigorous to support most arguments. BU is not an academic journal after all.

    We see Marston appoint appointment not conflicting with the tenet of executive and judiciary separation, more about ensuring an eminently qualified Bajan is given the pathway to do a job.

  30. And eff he is a Bajun looka e gine get deported after serving time and we gine havta deal wid him. Castrate de bugger!

  31. @ Caswell March 23 4.32 p.m
    Based on your posting and what I have read on the internet wrt to a judical referee should one conclude that Mr Gibson (although he is well qualified on paper) has been a judge’s assistant for the last 10+ years? Please explain!

  32. @ David

    It is not an academic journal, but BU’s mantra is transparency and good governance of which facts and sound decision-making are key elements. If the insertion of ‘common law’ still raises questions regarding whether or not the US is a common law jurisdiction then the decision is not sound, and Wikipedia ought not to be a source to defend what appears a complex argument. Moreover, Wikipedia is “shown to be sufficiently rigorous to support most arguments” BUT not ALL!!!

    The separation of the judiciary and executive was the issue with the appointment of Simmons. The amendment of the law to appoint Mr. Gibson has also created a similar perception given the government’s willingness to accommodate him.

  33. @checkit-out. With respect – and I mean “with respect”, you are splitting the short and curlies and you know it and you are enjoying it. Good for you, so am I.

  34. @Sargeant. I did not know of Franklyn’s past and my eyebrows are now permanently through my almost non-existent hairline – which means they are on the bck of my head. I think the big fear is that CJ Gibson will do the job well and that others (and we can all guess exactly who those others are) will suffer by comparison. At least that is my hope and prayer. Something HAS to be done.

  35. This is wonderful…really.

    from Caribbean News>Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar says her administration is in no rush to ditch the London-based Privy Council as Trinidad and Tobago’s final court even though regional countries have established the Port of Spain-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).>>

    What a barrelful of laughs these Caribbean politicans are.

    Caribbean community what?! What a nonsense. Cannot do a fishing agreement in four years, cannot agree on a common court of justice.

    And people still think this is a community?

    One definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    Actions based on ‘ideology’ will get the desired result in a textbook, but implementation is another ballgame, as we are seeing.

    Forty, almost fifty years ago, Jamaica and T&T told wunna to
    ‘sod off’ and they are doing it again.

    Y’all get it …YET?

  36. Watching
    Thank you! You seem to be one of the few that actually read and understood what I wrote. Thank you again for doing your own research. Where is the track record of judicial decisions and management of any court system that would tend to suggest that he is capable of managing the judiciary.
    As far as I am aware, you are quite right, Mr. Gibson is a judge’s assistant. I recall reading in the Nation that Mr. Gibson said that both the Democrats and the Republicans offered him a judgeship, but he declined because judges in that jurisdiction are elected and that elections are expensive. He would therefore need a benefactor and he somehow felt uncomfortable with that arrangement.
    He must realise that the current administration would become the very benefactor that he did not want in the first place.
    I do not know the gentleman but personally, I would be scared to be suing the Government and he were the president of the appeal panel.

  37. Caswell;

    Check the various threads about the Marston Gibson affair and you will see that I brought up the matter of MG being merely a judicial referee or judge’s assistant in New York on at least 2 occasions. No one responded to that point. It seems that it is a no-no on both sides of the fence.

    Am I correct in interpreting the slant you are giving the judicial referee thing is that MG is not qualified for the post of CJ here because, inter alia, he has not even been practising law for the last several years in NY and has merely been an assistant to a judge providing information to allow that judge to make legal rulings.

    Perhaps he has been providing legal education to the Judge he reports to and is thereby qualified for the CJ position on that score.

  38. A Barbadian with Law degrees from UWI and the UK who then goes to practice in the USA and on occasion lectures at the UWI and who is a proven Scholar, cannot be a suitable Chief Justice of Barbados ?

    Since you all suh brite, wunna know why Judges take a long time to render judgements?
    Wunna tink dat Judges have memorized all de law books?
    Wunna realise dat a Judge does read de law books to help he make a judgement?

    Gibson can read and he is one of Barbados’ brightest sons.

    I hope Marston Gibson will be appointed CJ.

  39. Caswell and Checkit-out thanks to both of you.
    Why would a Rhodes Scholar with a law degree and former law lecturer at Cave Hill settle for a job as a judge’s assistant for so many years?
    Here is part of the job description for a judicial referee.
    Court Attorney-Referees act as special referees and research and analyze complex legal issues and questions raised in civil and criminal cases heard in trial courts or on appeal to certain County Courts and may be responsible for supervision of court attorneys and support staff who are located in one or more courts situated throughout a county, judicial district, or department.
    They serve in a confidential capacity and work with substantial independence from supervision in units located in the Court of Claims or special parts in the Supreme Court or in the County, District, Family, and Surrogate’s Courts in counties entirely within cities or in counties that have populations exceeding 400,000.
    The appointee’s assignment will be at the direction of the Administrative Judge and the Supervising Judge of Matrimonial and Family Courts for the 8th Judicial District. The duties will include assisting with matrimonial, family and other civil legal matters for the Supreme Court in the 8th Judicial District. Travel between several counties may be required. Candidates with practice and knowledge of Matrimonial and Family Court Laws are preferred.
    GENERAL INFORMATION: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by persons assigned to this title.

    Based on this job description should we take the chance and install a judicial referee be our Chief Justice?
    If a company advertises for the Chief Financial officer should the company appoint someone who has a job description as a book keeper and holds an accounting degree?

    • Lawyers from both sides of the political divide and not have lauded the credentials of Marston Gibson.

      The debate has moved passed this point.

  40. Mr.Gibson will shortly take up the post of Chief Justice of Barbados.Let’s see if he will dispense justice without fear or favour.Let’s see if the mealy-mouth wayward unscrupulous opponents—lawyers and politicians—will work with him and not try to oppose and frustrate him at every turn.Let’s also see if he will become a member of the ole boys’ network and the status quo ante or if he has “true character”.Let’s see if he brings change…change we can believe in….

    • @lol

      Why do you feel you should trivialize this man?

      Have you not listened to many lawyers in Barbados admit Mr. Gibson lectured them at university?

      Does a secretary have that capability?

    • @The Scout

      Your comments demonstrates an ignorance about what this man has been doing.

      It is unfortunate indeed.

  41. David
    I tend to agree with LOL, while he may be a brilliant barbadian scholar, from what I’ve learnt, this gentleman wasn’t any highprofile lawyer in the USA as persons here was trying to protray him. A legal referee is nothing extraordinary, no wonder he accepted the humiliation surrounding this appointment, instead of him doing us a favor by accepting this job, maybe ,just maybe, we are doing him one by giving him the office.

  42. David
    You are so right, this government appears to be pishing someone down our throats, with the only qualifications that heis a brilliant Rhodes Scholar. I did some investigations and what I wrote iswhat I found, maybe the source was bias, however the onus is on government to give us the C.V of the man so that we can accept him better.

  43. Mr. Gibson will be a breath of fresh air because he has outside experience but it looks bad for the GOB to be messing with the law.

    It is bad for him and it is bad for the GOB.

    It says to me he did not have the qualifications to meet the legal requirements as spelt out so they were changed to accommodate him …… and …… that a reactive GOB botched one more matter.

    That is not a good way to start … no matter how able Mr. Gibson is ….. or well meaning the GOB is.

    Maybe the discussions into the pros and cons of the appointment will motivate a level of performance from the post that will surpass what has gone before.

    God knows we need it.

    My feeling is that there are many jobs in Barbados that need to be done by persons who have been exposed to the wide world, whether they be Barbadian or not.

    A breadth of vision is what is needed.

    Maybe the GOB should look at the law again now that we have been introdued to hybrid legal systems!!!

    Is it possible for a hybrid system to qualify as a common law system because it has aspects of common law?

    Next time around it may be necessary but by then a proactive GOB would have got its act together and not place its candidate in as an invidious position as it has placed Mr. Gibson.

  44. What if an attorney makes reference to an english ruling to strengthen his/her case and it is throw out by our new C.J, who in turn refer to a USA ruling, which takes preference?

  45. @The Scout | March 25, 2011 at 8:04 AM. Don’t make me laugh. The Chief Justice will apply the law and precedent of Barbados and may seek guidance from case law of other countries. In which case, it is most likely to be Canada (we take our Companies Act and our Condominiums legislation, to name but a few, from Canada). I mean the utter stupidity of that comment of yours leaves me breathless. When we had the Privy Council, the Privy Council sat as the final court of appeal of Barbados – in right of Barbados. It was called upon to interpret Barbados law, not English law or the laws of any other country. Where on earth do you get these bizarre ideas and try to foist them on us as legitimate objections to the new Chief Justice?

  46. Amused
    I don’t know who you are or if you even live here, but whenever our attorneys need a reference case they usually go to a british case and verdict, I’m not asking you, this I know for a fact. I was trying to point out that now I’m hearing about this hybrid common law talk, which if implemented can cause some confusion. You might be looking at it politically, I’m looking at it realistically.

  47. I followed this thread with great interest because I wanted to be clear on on a number of things, I am now clear: the Chief Justice is a political appointee, the government of the day decides who gets justice by whom. However, are there no legal minds in Barbados who could have filled the post and how come no name was offered? I think the Government acted in haste by nominating MG and then checking the law, which is stupid to say the least; then create a big hulabaloo over a law that probably would have been changed anyway, under different circumstances because most of us agree that the law was prejudice but I think the ones who drafted the law did so with good reason and the best intent. Mr Stuart was AG at that time and we had to go to Parliament to correct his bloop, I wonder where we will have to go to correct his decisions as PM assuming he makes any.

  48. to scut- i did raise the issue in one of my comments as to why a man of mr gibson’s supposedly eminence and standing in legal jurisprudence would be willing to subject himself and family by extension to such unnecessary humiliation to leave what must be more lucrative pastures in the usa for in the overall scheme of things a less recognisable position in barbados unless he can’t do any better. hawever, i do hope these revelations surrounding his criteria for the job are not true.

  49. ruth do remember that unless there is a clear showing of judicial ignorance that the chief justice is in until retirement. most judges in america aren’t done to tenure and must be re-elected which can be expensive process with possibility of you not getting the position. so you have a position for life then pension vs one in which you have to fight to get. it quite easy to see he was never going for the latter. One can only hope when he get the position ( cause there no way the government is going to ease of after doing all this ) that he make all the talk of it being political appointment go away with unbias ruling and practices and improvement to the judicial system,

  50. anthony- suppose it turns out in the end that he does not have to capacity to do all those things those supporters on the blog are expecting of him and what evidence is there to determine that he would not dance to the tune of his political masters? after all, he does owe the govt a lot.

  51. to sweetie- are you not aware that what little independence to some extent there was to govern appointments to the public service through the various service commissions went totally through the window with the introduction of the despicable 1974 public service amendments by no less a person than the father of independence. these spiteful amendments placed appointments to the most important positions in the public service including the judiciary firmly in the hands of the political directorate.since then, the public service have been unable to function to the best of its ability.

  52. @Scout. I am too old and tired to bother to try to teach some idiot how precedence and guidance operate or, more basically, what they mean. Since you know so many attorneys, go and ask one of them to kindly explain it all to you, always provided you have the capacity and wit to understand it in the first place. Me now definitely done with this frustrated grinding of teeth by those who want to see everything, especially the deceased justice system, become a monument to Simmons.

  53. Gentlemen, A guy who went to such a university in NYC and did his grad studies at the Manly law school in JAmaica was accepted to the bar here in BIM.under the made papers and was accepted by all in thelaw ferternity. So the man qualify if the government of that time reconised that university and allow a person with a degree in law to pratise here

  54. It is ingrained in the dna of Bajans to denigrate their own.
    Yet Bajans are respected in every country in which they work.

    Marston Gibson is a Bajan. An educated accomplished Bajan.
    nuff said.

  55. Hants
    You seem not to understand the point. No one has ever questioned Mr. Marston Gibson’s educational accomplishments.

    Whenever Government wants to employ one of their own they change the rules. (I am speaking of both BLP and DLP). That is my sole concern. They have not only done it for Mr. Gibson. Others are done in secret because changes to qualifications for most other public officer only need an order signed by the Minister for the Public Service.

    We now have situations in the Service where junior officers require greater qualifications than their bosses because the boss had a friend or political connection. Let us face it, the problems that they are saying that Mr. Gibson would clean up, when he becomes Chief Justice, were created by politicians appointing their lazy friends who found it difficult to make a living at the private bar. Some of them take months and even years to deliver decisions. At the end of their careers, if they serve 20 years, they retire on a pension equal to their salaries. I know of one case where the person did not serve 20 but was given a full pension in error. That error was never corrected. Incidentally, he was made a judge when his private practice was down in the dumps.

  56. @ruth
    there is none.As we the people can’t effect it unless there is mass protest ( this unlikely only protest we would have is mass taxation , mass job retrenching in government or devaluation ) the appointment can’t be stopped. If he fails to live up to promise it just be another disappointment in the long list of horror in the judicial system. Also another point against the dlp but not in this coming election but the next. as we must give him some time to try.

  57. Amused
    I thought your vocab was better but like all political yardfowls, the quickest thing you can do is fly up unto the paling and do what you know best, crow loud and senseless. Pity the FOOL

  58. to caswell- do you not agree that these jobs-for- the- boys situations arise out of political skulduggery as a result of the infamous 1974 constitutional amendments?

  59. Ruth
    You are absolutely correct. I was a boy, but I well remember the BLP marching to Government House demonstrating against these amendments, and promising to repeal them when they took power. They did that in 1976 and to date those amendments remain in force.
    Those amendments neutered the Service Commissions and are responsible for a lot of incompetent persons at the top of the service. You can now only get a senior job in the Public Service with the blessing of a minister of Government.

    The service commissions are reduced to rubber stamps. The new Public Service Act only made things worse.

  60. to cas- you are correct; after ranting and raving against the amendments, the hypocritical blp which you supported at the time used the same amendments to their political advantage and are equally complicit in the emasculation of the public was these kinds of shenanigans that turned me against the present system of governance.

  61. Ruth
    You can’t help but to attack me. You wrote, “the hypocritical BLP which you supported at the time used the same amendments to their political advantage…”
    I was between 3rd and 4th form at school when those amendments were passed. At that time I was not politically involved.


    Friday, 25 march 2011 21:56

    There is more support for government’s amendment to the Supreme Court Act to pave the way for the appointment of a new chief justice.

    Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Cave Hill Campus of the UWI Velma Newton, speaking in her capacity as an independent senator she has dismissed suggestions that the appointment stands to benefit the party in power at the time of the amendment.

    She contends that there’s no logical answer to the current practice of employing lawyers from Canada, Australia and Tanzania but not Barbadians who are working elsewhere because they have not worked in the Commonwealth for the 15 or ten years.

    Senator Newton noted that Barbados’ highest court -the Caribbean Court of Justice has already appointed a judge who is not from a civil law jurisdiction.

  63. David
    So Prof. Newton hasendorsed the amendment, does thar make it right? plus the timing of that amendment? Is she the judicial goddes? As an independent senator who is appointed by the G.G on recomendation from the P.M, what would you expect?

    • @The Scout

      The reason BU highlighted the Independent* Senator’s comment is because people outside the political have a view just like you.

  64. She always comes over as pro DLP. The Hill is full of DLP sympathizers. Many of these lecturers and professors foist their partisan views on the students more so than ever. It was so in my day and my son often told me of the blatant DLP bias during the last election.

    For example notable ones like Professor Donn Marshall, Professor Justin Robinson and my friend’s daughter told of the blatant expression of support for the DLP by Letnie Rock who students could never find to discuss anything relating to their studies as she ws too busy pushing the DLP agenda. I hope all them happy now with the way how things are going in this country. They should be, most of them ended up as chair persons of boards.

  65. Lawyers from Canada, Australia and Tanzania can work in Barbados?

    Since I is a dual citizen yuh mean I cuh hire a Canadian to do work fuh me in Babadus?

  66. Has Velma Newton read the requirements to be a judge of the CCJ? Does the CCJ not also serve Surinam? Is Velma Newton a lawyer?

  67. David

    “She contends that there’s no logical answer to the current practice of employing lawyers from Canada, Australia and Tanzania but not Barbados who are working elsewhere because they have not worked in the Commonwealth for 15 or ten years”.

    I did not hear Senator Newton and I sincerely hope that you have misquoted her. That statement is absolutely untrue. I am over 50 years and I cannot recall any judges being appointed from any of those jurisdictions since independence. I was quite young before so I would have to be guided.

    If Senator did make those assertions I would have to review the high esteem in which I hold that lady. It would be obvious that she too missed the point. It has nothing about appointing people from Pakistan as the Attorney General and others attempt to drag red herrings across the trail.
    The preferred candidate did not meet the legal requirements and Government is using its majority in Parliament to supercede other qualified candidates. Government is really saying that none of the present crop of judges is suitable. I think that they should be insulted and demoralised. Not only are they overlooking qualified persons who remain in Barbados, who gave up the opportunity to earn high fees at the private bar: they have opted for someone with no discernible track record in management who is not a judge.

  68. @Prodigal Son

    What are you bleating about? Everyone in Barbados is politically aligned and University lecturers are no different but some may hide it better than most. The difference is that the DLP is in the ascendancy so it appears that more people are leaning their way. When the shoe was on the other foot and Owen had his “Politics of Inclusion” weren’t other prominent people being seen as pro BLP?.

    When Owen foisted his army of “Consultants” on a supposedly independent Civil Service, weren’t they BLP people too?

    You need to “Get Real” but it is difficult when you see everything through BLP blinkers

  69. David, it is you who lack comprehension skills. Now read slowly…does she not see that the CCJ’s position is different to ours?

    I notice you wrote “who is NOT from a civil law jurisdiction”. If she said that she has lost it…We are a COMMON law, not a CIVIL law jurisdiction! It would be strange if the CCJ appointed most of its judges from Civil law systems.

    • @jack spratt

      Using our best comprehension skills it is quite obvious the CBC reporter messed this up.

  70. David
    You seem to expect us to accept Ms Newton’s mouthings, just becauase she is a prof, well she’s no better that any other person who can think for themselves. The problem is many of these prof have one track minds and are only good at what they teach but maqny of them can’t even fry an egg. Many have become creatures of some political party. I remember Maxine Mc Clean, even though she not a prof., denying on the call-in program that she’s not attached to any political party, yet when David Thompson died she admitted that she was his adviser to him. I stopped trusting her from then

  71. Anthony & Amused
    I got news for you. The interview is interesting for a number of reasons, but not for what you think.

    Mr Gibson is coming to implement a number of pioneering changes to the administration of the judicial system. Unfortunately all the changes that he is planning to implement have already been done.

    He plans to abolish the assizes in criminal cases, Sir David has already been there and done that.
    Again, he will introduce assistants for judges, sorry there are already four since 2004 as part of the justice improvement project.
    He also plans to abolish preliminary hearings before magistrates in criminal cases. I don’t know if he was listening but that was announced by none other than Sir David Simmons at the opening of the new Supreme Court complex but they were awaiting a challenge at the level of the Privy Council in an Antiguan case against a similar move.
    Since he is coming to do all those things that have already been done, and he cares so much about Governments finances, I suggest that he should stay in New York and save the Government the cost of relocating him. By the way, I would like to see a copy of his CV.

  72. to cas- my apologies; i should have said which you later supported. that aside, i support your comments on fraternal brother judicial referee promised chief justice post even before amendment passed mr marston gibson.

  73. @David. Franklyn’s slip is showing big time. Seems to have acquired an intimate (and so imperfect) knowledge of the Simmons “legacy”. And he wants to see a CV. He and his master intend to play their futile (and to Barbados’ justice system, damaging) game for all they are worth, even though the game is played out. Oh well, it is a free country.

  74. Amused;

    Was Marston Gibson an old Foundation student? He sounds a lot like Freundel Stuart, minus the big words.

  75. He also needs to do some work on his timing. Unless I missed something, was the Interview really necessary at this time? Does it give the sense that he is head and shoulders above the pack? Does his rationale for not packing up his candidacy for the post ring true?

  76. So Gibson hasn’t got to Barbados yet and they want him to consult them before he speaks.

    This is the kind of blank blank that really blanks me off about some people including Lawyers in Barbados.

    Consult whom.The man is taking on a job and chooses to speak to a journalist and have it printed in a newspaper. What is wrong with that.

    Speak less so the Lawyers in Barbados can keep the public in the dark and pretend there is nothing wrong with the system?

    The big shot criminals can post bail. The poor man has to spend years on remand.

    The people of Barbados needed to hear from the CJ designate how he proposes to “change tings bout dey.”

  77. @checkit-out | March 27, 2011 at 9:53 PM . Does it really matter where he went to secondary school? The fact is that he is Bajan an qualified to do the job. I was at HC, but Foundation was always an excellent school and a front-runner. However, we need to focus on Mr Gibson’s later attainments, like Rhodes Scholar, UWI, Oxford and the like. Those are what define him in relation to the job of CJ. Anyway, that is how I see it – that he is Bajan and very qualified.

  78. @Checkitout

    Was Marston Gibson an old Foundation student? He sounds a lot like Freundel Stuart, minus the big words.
    Foundation was/is an excellent school, we may not have had the name recognition of some other schools but many of our students have done well in numerous fields since leaving school and that’s all that matters.

    BTW how does William Layne speak?

    And since you didn’t go to Foundation? Your loss

  79. Amused;
    The question about if MG is an old Foundation boy had nothing to do with snobbery on my park. It had to do with my noticing a similarity in great respect for the teachings of their elders in the two men. I was an HC boy too but I think that, judged from where they started, several old scholars from other secondary schools in Barbados have done significantly better in later life than HC boys in general. Re. your enumeration of MG’s later accomplishments. They are of course excellent and outstanding, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The interview did not leave me with the feeling that “at last we have got an outstanding CJ”. But I am probably wrong and, for the country’s sake, I hope I am wrong.

  80. @checkit-out | March 28, 2011 at 8:42 AM. I never thought you were indulging in snobbery and you are right – many pupils of schools other than HC have gone on to do significant things. I also agree that the proof of the pudding……… I however have great confidence in the CJ and all I can do is pray that I am right.

  81. I am informed that the Government will have Mr. Gibson sworn in to assume office on April 1, 2011. It is significant that that happens to be All Fools Day.

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