CCJ Justices Condemn Barbados JUDICIARY

CCJ Justices

During the recent sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Barbados, BU has received information from a credible source that the CCJ justices met with Barbados’ judges and expressed to them their displeasure and dismay at the state of the Barbados courts. While the CCJ placed all the blame at the feet of the Barbados Judiciary, BU feels that the Registry must share this blame equally.

The source of the massive build-up of 3,500 cases that have remained unheard for years, or part-heard for years or on which judgements have been undelivered (reserved) for years stems from the time of the appointment of Sir David Simmons as chief justice, it can be revealed.

Prior to the appointment of Sir David Simmons, cases were motored through the courts by the lawyers themselves, who had to answer to their clients for delays or a failure to adequately prosecute matters.

However, Sir David changed the Civil Procedure Rules so that cases were assigned to judges, in actual fact and practice for the terms of the natural lives of each judge so assigned. This has created a situation where the Registry is able to blame the judges and the judges in their turn have a scapegoat in the Registry.

And both judges and Registry are playing this situation to the max to the detriment of litigants and taxpayers. Indeed, to the detriment of our off-shore investment industry which, as was recently noted by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur, has fallen off to crisis point. Although Mr Arthur stops short of laying the blame squarely where it belongs – on the shoulders of himself and his appointee as chief justice.

Several recent examples have come to light where judges clerks have telephoned counsel to advise that decisions will be given on a specific date at a specific time, counsel turns up in court only to be told that the judge is, variously, on holiday, out of the island, sick, not ready, etc.

Effectively, this means that counsel that have already juggled their schedules (usually on less than 24 hours notice from the judge’s chambers) have their time wasted and then have to bill their clients for their time which in good faith they had every reason to believe would be well spent, but in fact proves to be a complete waste of time and money attributable SOLELY to the judge in question.

In one standout case which has for the moment to remain nameless, delivery of a reserved judgement was scheduled with counsel turning up in court to receive the judgment (a judgement that had been by then reserved for over TWO YEARS) on a case that had been started almost 10 years ago. BUT, the call to receive judgement occurred not once, but several time……and this is the NORM! So if you have two counsel on each side, each of which is charging $500 per hour, litigants are being charged $4,000 for each occasion times the number of occasions.

Meanwhile, BU has ascertained from several counsel (some of them silks) that when they write to the Registrar, no response is even forthcoming – not even by e-mail. And the same thing from the judges.

But the favourite excuse of the judges for not providing judgements is that the Registry has not yet typed them up. This is the lamest of the lot. In other jurisdictions, judges read their judgements and orders that they have written by hand and copies of these handwritten judgements are then provided to counsel, pending the fully typed up version. These judgements bear witness to the crossed-out and initialled and re-drafted work of the judges – AND THEY ARE ENFORCEABLE so as to expedite the delivery of justice. But why should the Barbados court system try to expedite justice?

And all this rot set in solely during the tenure of Sir David Simmons who now, along with his political lobby, seems intent on trying to persuade a far from credulous Barbados public and NOT as the result of the total mess made by Sir David, but due to the failure of Chief Justice Gibson.

Unfortunately for Sir David, the very transparency of Chief Justice Gibson and Gibson CJ’s willingness to highlight the inherited problems he is facing and to discuss freely the solutions he would want to see put in place, have made Sir David’s tactics subject to universal condemnation. Likely out of most proper professional ethics, however, Gibson CJ does not mention the most effective solution which we all know is to fire 75% of the judges and the Registry, starting with the Registrar, all (or most) appointed by or on the advice of Sir David Simmons.

It is a sad circumstance that, Bajans having been raised from the cradle to respect judges and their support organisation, the Registry, now have no respect for them whatsoever, above all Barbados’ former chief justice.

Let those judges reflect that as they drive around Barbados with their official cars and police drivers and go into court with everyone bowing, the thought on every Bajan mind is that they are a bunch of freeloading parasites whose monumental egos and incompetence have ruined our justice system and our off-shore industry and who, rather than making any effort to support the efforts of the Chief Justice, are actively campaigning with the loser whom he replaced and exposing Barbados to international disdain, the ruin or our off-shore sector and the open and aggressive censure of the justices of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Almost every civil case that has come before the CCJ from Barbados has drawn uncomplimentary remarks on Barbados’ judicial system from the justices of the CCJ. One is hard-put to find any appeals from Barbados in the judgements of which the CCJ has not commented negatively on the length of time involved in the Barbados courts.

This is shameful and unacceptable and it clearly high time government provided the back-up to the CJ to take extraordinary measures to dismiss the persons responsible, rather than have these parasitic incompetents spending their working lives doing nothing but drag Barbados down both reputationally and financially and then expensing the taxpayers for the remainder of their lives to pay pensions to them.

0 thoughts on “CCJ Justices Condemn Barbados JUDICIARY

  1. And do you want promotion? Sorry…guess you’ll have to wait. My beef? Simply with people like you….uncreative, narrow skinflints who will never see the horizon and who, meanwhile, parade their self-confessed virtues to the rest of us.

  2. @Checkit-Out | April 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM | “He has an admirable way with words but he also seems to have a red flag going off whenever DS is mentioned. I wonder why?”

    The mess the justice system is in, the mess it has created in the off-shore sector, the fact that these were mainly contributed to by a silk, attorney general, chief justice……I tend to take those things very personally indeed…… all Bajans should. Maybe you should too.

    @Blogger2012 (and new alias). Re: RR. I myself have taken, for the most part, to simply ignoring him as I would if someone farted at a party. Small man, small man syndrome. Poor, little RR pouter pigeon. Bless.

    By the way, Blogger2012, I do NOT know who you are, nor you me. As you know, I was joking when I suggested that you were either related to or actually An Observer. I do not know who An Observer is, except I rate his opinions very highly, even when I don’t agree, as I do yours.

  3. @Amused
    The mess the justice system is in, the mess it has created in the off-shore sector, the fact that these were mainly contributed to by a silk, attorney
    general, chief justice…
    You keep repeating this like a broken record (!). While the tardiness of the judicial systems was one contributing factor (cutting thru red tape), it was not the overriding one.
    More importantly was this administrations’ lethargic work ethic in keeping abreast of chances to what other countries were offering to woo keep
    IBC’s and FSC’s . While not laying all the blame at your doorstep (lacking experience)….a good lot has to be.. You are aware plenty happens by contacts ? …again where Georgie fell thru. So you too could stop Jonesing now……doing the Ronnie dance.

  4. @ robert ross .
    MY FINAL RESPONSE…..YOU MUST BE ONE OLD UNHAPPY MAN !!!! It is about time you let go of the word ” PEDANTIC ” ; go buy a book of synonyms . GOODBYE !!!!!!

  5. @ Check-it
    David may have some slight leanings towards one party but he usually doesn’t show it
    Nawww…him ? nawwwwwwwwwwwwwww lol

  6. RR; I apologized to Blogger2012 because, on reflection, I referred to an old incident which I should not have, but which I think reflected a characteristic of the person whom I think he is, that was relevant to the discussion.

  7. @RR
    You must be a fairly decent lawyer, judging by the manner in which you have diverted a perfectly legitimate and relevant discussion into a meaningless street brawl about petty issues and personalities.
    Perfectly in keeping with what has happened to Justice in our courts. The vital and critical need for JUSTICE has been side tracked by bullshit, into petty political and personal agendas with the result, as Hants so clearly puts it, that innocent persons DO find themselves in jail for YEARS for lack of a trial….
    How ANYONE in their right mind could fail to be upset with this reality in this century boggles the mind…. and ANYONE who undertakes that job MINUS the intention to address that POX on our society deserves our full volume of verbal abuse….as does anyone (such as DS) who, after a lifetime in the system as lawyer, politician, AG, CJ can leave us with a big new building – but with an even worse SYSTEM.

    Bushie is ashamed that people here can be defensive of such a status quo.

    If not the boss to be blamed then who…? the staff? the opposition? the litigants?….. or is it Bushie?

    The same applies to the current CJ.
    Bottom line! What brains what??!!
    If you don’t have the balls for the job to be done….TAKE A PASS…

  8. @ Bush
    You’ve had every opportunity to contribute – and I responded to your question. Now answer the ones addressed to you.

    As for diversions – there was nothing to divert. It diverted itself once Amused began his verbal swank. The post was a ‘lie’ and if you scrutinise it all closely it MAY be self-evident to you that it is.

    As for the substantive point you raise – persons in Dodds who are entitled to rely on the presumption of innocence – I agree with you entirely. I’ve said the same here and in every post where there has been opportunity. No-one – not you, not anyone – has EVER responded positively….or in fact at all.

  9. Bush Tea; Just one thing you got wrong there. Everyone commenting on this topic agreed that the Justice system is abysmal. However, some, including you put the full blame for the system reaching this sorry pass on the Former Chief Justice. A few others pushed back on the apparent unfairness of that particular judgement.

    David, himself, by posting the url to Simmon’s speech about the new initiatives he was implementing in the justice system, allowed all to read and hopefully understand that DS was aware of the escalating problems and doing something about them by providing a detailed blueprint of the way forward and getting resources for implementing the changes from soon after he took up the CJ position. But the CJ job is not that of a dictator, it requires support and buy-in from all its constituents to be successful. That support was evidently not there. and the lack of such support now seems to presage the lack of such support in the future when MG tries to run with what is evidently DS’ blueprint.

    What we should be talking about is how the new CJ and all the legal officers can work together to comprehensively improve the system. You can’t go forward by ascribing unspecific total blame to a past player. You can honestly and in detail try to identify exactly how the system fell down and try to implement a system that removes the constraints arrived at and therefore can realistically move forward with real dispatch or even as Amused says “motors on.”

    Not a single soul defended the status quo in this discussion as far as I can see.

    Uh dun wid dis. When David puts up a new blog that looks at how the Justice system can move forward, given the toxic environment in which it now operates, I would be happy to re-engage.

  10. @ Checkit-out
    You always have logical positions, so just one point before you opt out – if you please..
    You say that the issue is “Bushie putting all the blame on DS…”.
    Who do you say we should blame..?

    The point is that unless we learn from the history of this mess, we shall condemn ourselves to repeat it…. Certainly if no one is to blame then we cannot expect any change…

    Bushie’s position is simple.

    The REASON for having a leader is to have someone with the POWER and the RESPONSIBILITY to do what has to be done.
    A leader therefor has to :
    1 – Understand the organization and people in it
    2 – Have a vision of where he wants to take the organization
    3 -Have a clear strategic plan of action – and to share it

    miss any one of these steps and you are a failure….especially step 4.

    DS clearly had a vision – (from his speech). Should have had a good understanding of the system (from his experience in it) …. BUT DID HE GET THE REQUIRED RESULTS?

    If you are saying that judges were ‘pushing back’ then you should note that he was the BOSS… not a begger. Bosses with balls do what have to be done in the interest of RIGHT. …. it takes BALLS.

    If DT was the problem when he became PM, then DS should have dealt with his backside through the COURT or RESIGNED on principal and stated his case….. that is what a man with BALLS would do…..
    If you sit there like a wimp and say nothing and do nothing while your mission is being thwarted – is that not FAILURE?

    The thing about being a LEADER is that you CAN’T BLAME others for lack of results….. as David said, The buck stops at YOU.

  11. Bush Tea;

    Thanks! Let me just opt in temporarily to make one more point. I would have agreed totally with your post above if it had come after an examination of the total system and a proper determination of the extent to which the various parts of the system had contributed to the malaise and that determination had categorically identified the leadership of the previous CJ as being at fault. But that was not the case. There was a headlong rush to judgement in ascribing all blame to the leader, DS. I really don’t think that was fair.

    Do you think that the venality of practically all lawyers and their ability to charge heavily for not working is a contributory factor to the malaise?

    Do you think that Justices who take 3 years to give judgements is another factor?

    Do you think that the antedeluvian dependance on pen and paper contributed to the malaise?

    Do you think that the registration system contributed?

    Do you think that unadulterated phardball politics on both sides contributed?

    Their contributions must have a value and should be factored into finding a lasting solution.

    Of course leadership and getting things done matters and should even have a slightly higherm weighting than the others but the others matter, in toto, much more than leadership, imho.

    What I’m suggesting is that let us restart the examination and try to objectively tease apart the various aspects of the system that have led to where we are now and if all roads leads to the past CJ then so be it. Curse him as much as you want and as he would deserve but don’t do it at this stage where the evidence does not yet seem to be all in.

    Thats all.

    • @checkit-out

      You just don’t get do you? A leader, in this case DS, will always have to work with stakeholders/partners to get the job done. Of course he must have gotten push back from many of those stakeholders. It is not our job as citizens to care about any examination of the total system as you suggest, it was the job of DS! Our job as citizens is to measure efficiency of the justice system by the years many spend on remand, or the length of time judges take to render judgements i.e. timely delivery of justice. This is not personal to DS he just happens to be the man who for the last 15 years has been in the lead to shape/influence the local judiciary.

  12. Checkit
    The weakness of your position is this…
    Lawyers charge as they do because it suits THEIR personal purpose AND because the system allows them to get away with it
    ditto for judges taking years to decide cases
    ditto for staff using pen and paper
    ditto for the registration system etc

    The COMMON factor is that the SYSTEM dictates what the various players are allowed to get away with…… ONLY THE BOSS has the power, authority and responsibility to address this….

    …for example Judges are to give decisions in say 6 months. a judge takes 10 years. The BOSS DOES NOTHING! what do you think other judges will do…? The fault is with the BOSS who allows this…

    There is no need for a commission of inquiry into such matters – IT IS ALWAYS THE BOSS …. that is where the buck stops….

    In comparison with the AX matter, the REAL problem is that while Broomes seem bent on changing an obviously bad system HE IS NOT THE BOSS!! …he has to refer matters to the Ministry, the Public Service Commission, the union and lord knows who else….

    No such problem with the CJ….
    🙂 let the man take his licks…. If Gibson don’t start shaking up some things soon he will get even more lashes in his behind… just now.

  13. @ David

    “agree to disagree”

    Yes we can do that. But it depends upon what precisely we are disagreeing about. We do not disagree about the need for scrutiny as an ongoing process. We do not disagree about the need to scrutinise the judges – nor even DS. We do not disagree inevitably about the idea of the ‘captain taking responsibility’…sometimes that’s right, sometimes not. We don’t disagree about the quantum of the backlog. Where we part company is the extent you can blame one man for that. Which brings me back to the backlog. I asked you above how many cases had merely been filed and how many were ready for hearing. Probably you don’t know the answer to that any more than I do. But it prompts me to say that you simply can’t blame DS for the former. That’s down to the lawyers. You might, consistently with your position, blame him for the latter. The result is that our disagreement is actually about a contingent hypothetical – and to that extent is meaningless.

    • @robert

      As citizens we have to hold somebody accountable and BU has decided that person is the Chief Justice. It is up to the CJ, whoever occupies the office to get the job done or step aside.

  14. @ David .
    The problem at the heart of this debate is that those persons like ross and Caswell Franklyn cannot accept that the former Chief Justice is other than super-human , an impression which he himself , in no small measure tried vigorously to convey . On my return to Barbados from an overseas trip in early 2002 , a friend made available to me a supplement put out by THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE of SUNDAY , DECEMBER 9 , 2001.entitled TRIBUTE TO SIR DAVID . An Inspiring Life , a Meritorious Career ….Sir David Anthony Cathcart Simmons K.A, B.C.H., QC.. Husband , Father, Attorney-at-Law , Parliamentarian , Attorney-General , Chief Justice Designate . The supplement was put out after Sir David was appointed Chief Justice . It was a 31 page document that highlighted everything the goodly gentleman ever accomplished from the cradle and beyond and was littered with congratulatory messages from EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL BUSINESS Of NOTE IN BARBADOS . I firmly believed then that there would be a backlash from this UNUSUAL publication . Never before had the appointment of a Chief Justice been given such ” acclaim”.
    Some of the accolades which Caswell and ross sound off about feature prominently in that publication ; First Barbadian to acquire an LLM degree ; quickest to achieve the rank of Queen’s Counsel and others ..fastest runner apart from Agostini in Trinidad etc , etc etc. To these have been recently added the distinction of never having had a judgment of his appealed against or overturned . In other words , Simmons , with the help of some of his obvious admirers had been set up as a SUPER BEING ; a new JUDICIAL MESSIAH . When in future years his stewardship is being subjected to public scrutiny , it is only natural ; HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ONE CLOTHED IN THE GARB OF INFALLIBILITY , NOT AN ORDINARY MORTAL BEING LIKE MOST OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES .
    If it is now considered by many that he has failed in his stewardship as CJ , it is natural that he will be more harshly judged than ANY OF HIS PREDECESSORS . Anyone who takes a read of that ADVOCATE SUPPLEMENT WILL UNDERSTAND WHY .

  15. Bushtea and David; You raise a number of good points that force me to respond. However I will be out for most of today and will do so tonight or this afternoon. Essentially, I think you are taking an apparently reasonable solution “The boss is always responsible” and shoehorned it into this specific situation where it has not been proven that the boss is totally at fault, given what the boss in a real world situation in Barbados in 2010 can actually do and the limits by which he was constrained.

    Could DS actually fire all the judges who were tardy in their judgements? Could he get the Lawyers to work expeditiously on their cases? Did he take steps to try to improve the system in several ways? etc. etc.

    I’ll try to respond fully tonight.

  16. @ David

    But you’ve side-stepped – we’re on different planets – and so discussion of this issue is utterly futile.

    But now I see you’re factoring remand prisoners. Great. Let’s have a post on that.

    Someone made the point recently that we expect too much from one person – that by reason of office we give them ‘greathood’ status and so feel let down when we discover they’re not.

    I think we are expecting too much of one man. Remember he actually has to deliver judgments and much besides. But that prompts me to say that maybe what is needed is a non-judicial executive officer who would work with the CJ to deal with ALL this sort of thing. I don’t mean the Registrar….someone less ‘within’. Alternatively, you might have a Law Commission which scrutinises matters like delay as part of the over-all reforming process. We’ve discussed that.

  17. @ JBO

    I have never suggested any of the things you mention. BUT see what I just wrote. You are totally wrong – I do NOT think DS is Superman, nor anyone else.

  18. @check

    Relax, relax and stop with this mistaken identify. it detracts from ur reponse.

    David will tell u that i do not attack, unless i am attacked. As i said if i find something illogical in what u r saying, i will pounce on it and it is for u to prove what i am sayinf is wrong, but dont isuslt my intelligence, even though i am not intelligent,

    • @robert

      It doesn’t matter what the problems are for the purpose of this discussion, the office of CJ has to get it done or step aside.

  19. The age-old political cop-out. A commission. Okay, since some want it, let us have a royal commission, but let us call it instead a “tribunal”. The Barbados Constitution provides:

    84. 3. A Judge may be removed from office only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehavior, and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4).

    4. A Judge shall be removed from office by the Governor General, by instrument under the Public Seal, if the question of the removal of that Judge form office has, at the request of the Governor General, made in pursuance of subsection (5), been referred by Her majesty to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council and the Judicial Committee has advised Her Majesty that the Judge ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehavior.

    5. If the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or the Chief Justice after consultation with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge) advises the Governor General that the question of removing a Judge form office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehavior ought to be investigated, then –

    a. the Governor General shall appoint a tribunal which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other members selected by the Governor General in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or of the Chief Justice (in the case of any other Judge) from among person who hold or have held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court:

    b. that tribunal shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor General and advise the Governor General whether he should request that the question of the removal of that Judge should be referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee: and

    c. if the tribunal so advises, the Governor General shall request that the question should be referred accordingly.

    6. The provisions of the Second Schedule shall apply in relation to tribunals appointed under subsection (5).

    7. If the question of removing a Judge from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under subsection (5), the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or of the Chief Justice after the Chief Justice has consulted with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge), may suspend the Judge from performing the functions of his office.”

    “Misbehaviour” is constituted by inordinate delays in the delivery of judgements that leads to the denial of justice in contravention of the Constitution Article 18.8.

    We need no commission of enquiry. All we need to do is to examine the case files at the Registry, ascertain which ones have completed hearing and when and if decisions have been reserved for an inordinate length of time, refer the names of the offending judges to the Tribunal to have said judges removed.

    Really very simple. The rules are there and all that needs to be done is to apply them!!!!

    Article 84.7 is instructive in that judges can then be appointed on a temporary basis to replace those under suspension, pending the outcome of the deliberations of the Tribunal.

    Now, what could be simpler?

    @Bushie and Blogger2012, you guys are on a roll and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

  20. @Amused

    Thanks for educating bloggers again, it is clear that no one likes to bell the cat in this country. We look for reasons why something cant happen,

    I could recall while attending high school, my headteacher would always tell me that the berries from the tree in the court yard were going to fall on my head regularly. That was because I used to challenge the headtecaher when something didnt song logical or if I had my own interpretation of an event, particulary that relating to histroy. It however turned out that she was wrong althought i wanted to be a lawyer and if i had suceeded, perhaps the said berries she had spoken about might have fallen on my head, bust as a lawayer and not as a criminal,

    By the way, i am enjoying the discourse with check it out. I see Bushie like he run Jonh. Bushie why you dont leave John, check it out and caswell.

    peace my brother.

  21. I note that Amused has declared victory in this skirmish of words. I think I should also declare victory and move on and I will at the end of this piece.

    Anyhow, back to Bush Tea, David, Amused and Just being Objective who made comments that appear on the surface to be totally objective but on closer examination leaves a lot to be desired re. factoring in the real environment in which the Barbados Justice System operates.

    The thread that connects the contributions from all the above is that poor Leadership by the CJ transcends all other factors involved in our apparent moribund Justice system. There is an attractive ring to that supposition, especially since it is apparently considering the Barbados Justice system to be analagous to those used in many management systems in Metropolitan countries. Thus if a football team is doing badly fire the coach. If a big business enterprise is doing badly fire the CEO.

    I don’t know if the current Justice system in Barbados can work in this way at present because of its antecedents and the Public Sector structure in which it is firmly based. Perhaps Amused and RR and an Observer and AnonLegal and any other BU lawyer or wannabee lawyer could advise us.

    My understanding of the Barbados Justice system is that it is a megalithic, anachronistic one based on 19th century precepts, customs and practices that ill suits it for survival in the 21st century and, taken together, almost imbues it with a life of its own that slowly and surely responds negatively to any effort to effect meaningful change, Judicial inertia if you will.

    I think DS tried to drag the Barbados justice system into the 21st century and that certain elements of the system ensured his apparent failure as they will ensure the failure of anyone else who tries to set up a new system that seeks to constrain powerful people in a manner to which they have not been accustomed and that they have not willingly bought into. He appeared to have concentrated on such things as providing the new Law Courts to ensure the comfort of those using the system, modernising the IT system or rather setting up a comprehensive IT system, bringing in ADR, hiring more Judges and adjunct staff, training professionals and adjunct staff, setting up new rules of conduct and, I’m certain, the lawyers on the blog can add several more improvements which he introduced and found funding for but that appeared to be stillborn. eg. He also appears to have put a number of people oriented innovations in train based on my reading of his speech that David linked to near the beginning of this blog.

    As someone stated earlier on the blog, there was push back from the stakeholders in the justice system. I believe that pushback was essentially to ensure that those stakeholders did not lose status or material benefit from accepting a new system. The Lawyers really like it so. Change will only lead to some losses for them and must be resisted in the way they know best, i.e. inordinate delays.

    As I hinted earlier, imho, poor leadership could only be ascribed to the former CJ if it can be proven that, having access to all the resources, carrots and sticks that could control and propel the Justice system forward, he had failed to act or had acted improperly.

    I think he acted in an adequate way as allowed by the system.

  22. @ David

    In order to demonstrate your integrity, will you kindly explain to Amused what I meant by a “Law Commission” and briefly outline the discussions we’ve had on this and your then response to my proposal.

  23. @ Check-it

    I don’t know you other than through what you write. I want to say that I regard you as an honest, sincere and highly intelligent person who writes very well. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you here and I wish you very well.

  24. @ David

    Yes – thankyou. But I think the record shows – to be very clear about this – that after some uncertainty you agreed that the issue relating to outside help concerned only the use of technology without bearing on the composition or functions of the Commission. I think CH’s role was only to pinpoint what seemed like a disagreement between us about who should do what.

  25. David said:

    “BU’s position is simple, the buck stops with the CJ.”

    I have a problem with this statement.

    I think that merely pointing a finger at the guy in charge is a lazy diagnosis. That approach does not involve any real analysis of what truly needs to be changed in order to improve the system.

    We need to start appreciating that if the problems within the court system were easy to solve, they would have been solved a long time ago. I for one have made several suggestions on how to improve the system. I haven’t seen any of those suggestions implemented. However, I recognize that there could be factors, unknown to me, that prevent my ideas from being executed.

    For example, it is my personal view that the courts are under resourced. There are too few judges. To add insult to injury, the remuneration of Barbadian judges appears to be too small to attract leading jurists from the private bar to the bench (no disrespect to the Judges currently serving).

    I am tempted to ask “Why don’t the powers that be appoint more judges (even if just to act)?” “Why don’t they pay the current judges better?” etc

    On the face of it, these may seem like valid questions for me to ask. But I realize that the Chief Justice is working within a budget and perhaps the money isn’t there to pay additional judges or persons to act as judges.

    Here is another example. I have continuously stated that I think that the drafters of the “new” Civil Procedure rules made a mistake when they did not incorporate automatic referral to mediation. That would have, at the very least, prevented the current back log from getting any worse.

    But I again appreciate that a lack of resources may be the reason automatic referral to mediation was left out in the first place. In other jurisdictions, there are Dispute Resolution Centers that are fully staffed. Those centers ensure that the mediation process runs efficiently. Barbados does not seem to have such a center and it may be that no one has any interest in investing in one. I can’t blame the Chief Justice for that, can I?

    My point is this: Rather than just blame whoever is in charge, maybe we should consider the possibility that it is a lack of resources rather than poor leadership that has been causing/worsening the problems in Barbados’ court system.

  26. Robert Ross; Thanks very much for the accolades. I try my best but sometimes I think that the effort is like spinning top in mud. Anyhow, I tried. It was actually enjoyable crossing swords with Bush Tea, particularly, because I consider him to be arguably the best longstanding blogger on BU, and who with very few well chosen words and in a style of his own, can zero in on the meat of any discussion and always make sense.

    I was on the tag team with him re. AX and opposed him on this one. Perhaps on the next one we may be on the same side again. But it really doesn’t matter. I think such discussions ensure that the quality of David’s BU is maintained at a high level.

    Re. your contributions here, I found that there were excellent, consistent, unbiased, thoughtful and well put.

    Over and Out.

    • @Anonlegal

      Everything in your last comment maybe true but if the system to get better there must be leadership from the person entrusted with the responsibility to lead. Last check the CJ position is responsible for leading the Judiciary. It is up to that person to lobby and or fashion available resources to deliver justice to Barbadians. How the CJ uses the office to achieve the goal is how we the people must evaluate his performance.

      The reason why this government hired a CJ from outside the inner ring was in response to the view that local candidates would have had the albatross of small island relationships and lack of experience to re-engineer the administration of the judiciary given its current state.

  27. The majority of you seem focused either on vilifying Simmons or defending him.

    Politics and elitism dominate this blog but only BushTea has acknowledged the most important reason for correcting the problems in the Justice system.

    Justice delayed, especially to an innocent person is a scourge on a so called almost first world country.

    All de lotta long talk and Simmons and the $400 per hour gang eating steak and innocent people eating prison food.

  28. @ Checkit-out
    “…..poor leadership could only be ascribed to the former CJ if it can be proven that, having access to all the resources, carrots and sticks that could control and propel the Justice system forward, he had failed to act or had acted improperly.”
    if we accept your standard as outlined here, any idiot can be a good leader…. or more correctly, it will take a special effort by a complete fool to be classified as a poor leader,,,,

    Come on Checkit, if given ‘access to all the needed resources’ what will the ‘leader’ be bringing to the table…?

    Great leaders are those who work with what they have, often against great odds, to achieve the goals set. Your excuse for the former CJ may even be tenable if he could claim to have been surprised by the extent of the challenge he would face.
    DS CAN’T claim such ignorance. He knew what he was facing; He knew what obstacles he would encounter; and he should have known whether or not he had the balls for the job.

    Long and short – he did NOT. It is actually quite simple. 🙂 the obstacles were too much for him, and he failed to achieve the goals set. It will now take someone with larger testosterone manufacturing facilities to overcome the challenges and achieve the set goals.

  29. LOL @ Anonlegal
    My point is this: Rather than just blame whoever is in charge, maybe we should consider the possibility that it is a lack of resources rather than poor leadership that has been causing/worsening the problems in Barbados’ court system.

    Since it is all explained, we can all continue to wallow in mediocrity as the system grows increasingly inefficient.

    ……but wait! this is from a LAWYER right? of those who MAKE MORE MONEY from long drawn out cases?
    ….who can afford to take on more work than they can do – because finish dates are unlimited….
    ….who would NEVER find himself or his family up DODDS on remand..?


  30. Bush Tea; You’re mostly right in your characterization of that paragraph which you uneeringly zeroed in on. I can only claim that I was tired when I wrote it and was in a hurry to finish off the post to sweep the yard etc., in preparation for a visit by some of my wife’s friends.

    What I should have said was;
    ….. poor leadership could only be ascribed to the former CJ if it can be proven that, having access to ALL the resources, carrots and sticks that could control and propel the Justice system forward, he had failed to combine and use those resources to the fullest extent possible to significantly improve the system

    Note that with that prescription, you, amused, et al, would have to be in a position to show that he had access to all the resources necessary to move the system forward and had failed to do so before you could claim his poor leadership was responsible for the state of the justice system. Granted, he had better access to hard resources than any of his predecessors by virtue of his connections to the ruling party in the first part of his tenure that would have been spent primarily in developing strategies, identifying monetary resources, training avenues, etc., but in the second part he would have been swimming against a strong tide.

    Perhaps you should look at his performance in phases and see how you would rate him in those phases and overall. (I know, you would say he was poor throughout.)

    I’m sorry, none of us on this blog has that data and can categorically and truthfully say that his very arguable poor leadership is solely to blame for the current state of the Justice system.

    And I noted you said above …the obstacles were too much for him…... I agree and they would have been too much for most. Lets see how your boy MG does in a situation where most of the preliminary work has been done for him. For argument’s sake suppose the BLP wins the next elections in 2013 or whenever and MG fails to make significant inroads into improving the Justice system at the end of that term, Given that he started out with much of the conceptual and infrastructural groundwork already completed by DS, would you also ascribe his failure to poor leadership only.

    Uh really dun now.

  31. @ Checkip-out
    Bushie dun too… rested.

    As for MG, his name is already penciled into Bushie’s book of failures 🙂

    …based on his slow and indecisive start and the growing likelihood that he will become ensnared in the whole mess, Bushie will be hugely impressed if MG shows himself to have the requisite spherical requirements.

    Now if BT was the CJ here is how it would go down….
    Month 1 – meetings with stakeholders and a review of the stats.
    Month 2 – A study of similar jurisdictions to review results and methodologies
    Month 3 – brainstorming sessions with key players
    Month 4- The Plan for change finalized and targets set
    Month 5 & 6 – identify about 6 idiots in the system and fire them (there are ALWAYS idiots available for such an exercise. 🙂 )
    Ongoing – Publish results (eg performance levels) and continue the lookout for more idiots…
    Month 4-12 Legally but mercilessly crush all efforts to sidetrack the plan
    month 12 – Brag about the Unbelievable results achieved….

    Easy as 1 to 12…..

    • Something checkit-out intimated which is as true as John 3:16. If an Owen Arthur led government were to win the next government there is no way MS will be allowed to outshine DS. It means that MG will definitely have to make his moves before the government changes.

      We rest.

  32. I ask again…

    1. What was the backlog of cases in 2002?

    2. Of the backlog in 2010, how many cases had merely been filed and how many were ready for hearing and for how long?

    Until answers are provided to those questions nothing has been demonstrated – and we are left with opinions, whims, superstitions, bigotry and prejudice – in short, the usual agendas. We expect so much from others. What satisfies us in ourselves?

  33. @Anonlegal.

    You say that we should not point a finger at the person in charge. I say that is balls and you know it.

    You say that if the matter was easy to fix, it would have been fixed. That too is balls and you know it. It IS easy to fix. Just follow Bushie’s recipe. Fire a few people. But as Bushie says, this requires balls, as the primary concern of CJ Simmons was POLITICS not JUSTICE and he was careful to do nothing to rock a boat that, frankly, needs capsizing, draining and completely refurbishing. The Justice System is supposed to be independent legislative body. However, by appointing someone directly from the legislative body as CJ, this independence was severely compromised and the holder of the office, instead of shrugging off his legislative role and political habits, brought them right into the justice system.

    Agree that there are too few judges, but also state that the judges are making no effort to move things along. Agree that some of the better brethren ought to be asked to serve temporarily to clear the backlog. OR senior counsel from overseas brought in temporarily. Just to clear the backlog. I like the idea of the overseas counsel best, as they are uncontaminated by the political invasion of the justice system that took place under Simmons.

    I will not comment on the remuneration of judges, but will let the public decide. Judges are paid about $120,000 per year, in addition to serious perquisites like official car, trips overseas as taxpayer expense, driver, gas etc. So you might say that the cost of the package to the taxpayer is almost triple the actual salary. And there are many overseas opportunities for judges to supplement their incomes from taking a variety of assignments overseas – things like speaking engagements etc. At least, these opportunities did once exist for Barbados’ judges, but they have so debased the coinage of their office, that these opportunities, like our off-shore sector, are drying up. After all, what law school wants to put some idiot who cannot give a decision and apparently has no knowledge (like RR) of the principals of Magna Carta to talk to groups of students? Or to sit on commissions?

    You say that you think that the drafters of the new CPRs made a mistake when they did not include automatic referral to mediation. Well, you may be right, but I DISAGREE. I agree that all family law matters should first be referred to mediation by the CPRs – on that I am certainly willing to agree 100% with you. But that ALL cases should be referred to mediation is, to my mind, merely adding an additional expense to the litigant who has to pay for this mediation, before then turning around and paying for the whole judicial process. I will agree that judges should examine all non-family law cases and come to a determination with counsel on each side on the likelihood of a settlement being achieved through mediation. BUT, if you give judges the automatic right to determine whether cases ought to be referred to mediation or not, then you are providing them with just another means of delay. Also, as you well know, mediations are carried out without prejudice. Therefore any evidence arising during the course of a mediation is inadmissible in a court of law, should the mediation fail. Then there are the costs of mediation, which are not inconsiderable, and are generally borne 50/50.

    So yes, I really do strongly agree with automatic referral to mediation in family law matters. But it cannot be automatic for all civil matters. ADR is an alternative, not a universal panacea. It is alternative to the courts, not in place of the courts. Finally on that point, I ask you to cast your eye over CCJ Appeal No CV 7 of 2010 between DELYS O’LEEN COLBY DEC’D BY D.V.B. COLBY, EXECUTOR APPELLANT and FELIX ENTERPRISES LTD and FELIX BROOME INCORPORATED RESPONDENTS [2011] CCJ 10 (AJ). I believe it was yourself who drew this to my attention here on BU last year. I was away from the Island at the time. As the CCJ presents the case and if you had been the judge at first instance, would you not have considered that this case ought to go to ADR? I know if I had been the judge I would have called counsel into chambers and strongly urged them to take the matter to ADR and some support for my position at the time would have been welcome. BUT, at the end of the day, in a case like this, they HAVE to have the right to refuse ADR. Even if by pursuing the matter in court it will end up being a Pyrrhic victory for one side and a disasterous loss for the other side.

    On another point, although I am aware that there are dispute resolution centres in other countries that are staffed and funded through the courts (as in Canada) may I point out that these are used for FAMILY law matters. In areas of law like corporate litigation, private mediators are used – and the costs are borne equally by the parties, including the cost of the mediator. Also, the findings of the mediator, should one side not agree with the results, are NOT admissible as evidence once the matter goes back to court. It is a privileged proceeding and the judge cannot be informed of or take into account the findings of the mediator.

    In sum, therefore, while agreeing with you that a lack of resources has contributed to the backlog, it has only done so to a very small percentage. The main problem lies with the fact that judges are simply not doing their jobs, either through sloth or incompetence and that 90% of the blame for this MUST fall on the boss who, having the means to remove unsatisfactory judges, has failed signally to use those means.

    @Hants. Criminal law is not my area of expertise. I agree with you that the periods of remand are shameful. However, once a criminal matter is referred to the High Court (Criminal Division) there is no waiting for years for a decision on a hearing. It is a matter for a jury. Guilty or not guilty. Then it is up to the judge to pronounce sentence. The problem, as I see it, lies with the timely scheduling of cases for trial. And that is the job of the Registrar and the buck stops with HER! The solution is simple. Apply Bushie’s excellent suggestions.Fire her!

    @Blogger2012. If you don’t think it is too late in life, get thee to law school. I thought that you were a lawyer.

  34. I said “The Justice System is supposed to be independent legislative body.” That should read, “The Justice System is supposed to be independent of the legislative body.”

  35. @ David
    ” If an Owen Arthur led government were to win the next election there is no way that MG would be allowed to outshine DS .”
    David if you wish to seek perfect corroboration of that view , get that ADVOCATE SUPPLEMENT and read it ; THERE IS NO WAY DS WOULD ALLOW MS TO DO ANYTHING THAT MIGHT APPEAR TO OUTSHINE HIM .That supplement clearly demonstrates that he has devoted his life to creating the impression that there has never been a better , brighter , more competent , better equipped person in the field of law than he . Do yourself the favour and get that ADVOCATE SUPPLEMENT OF SUNDAY DECEMBER 9 ,2001 AND READ IT .

  36. @ David .
    The intimate details of his ENTIRE LIFE could only have been made known by Simmons himself so there is no doubt that he prepared the Supplement .

    • @Just being objective

      Sounds like it would be a good read. Maybe if Bryan is reading the blog he can email it to us.

  37. everytime one looks around one sees the mass blunders left in the wake by the OSA administration and then we have people like Bush TEA coming up with these cockie manie plans on how CJ marston ought to fix them in 6mths,all them backlogs is a disgrace to the judicial system and whoever was in charge either was asleep on the job or did not know what they were doing. bushie you must be dreaming to think that 14 years of neglect can be fixed in 6mths or even a year!

  38. IF the Nation newspaper were to have printed what has been perpetrated here as FACT we would have convulsed and the tsunami would have engulfed the island. Look what happened when they published FACT – the tremors from the famous dildo are still with us. Witness Amused’s belated discovery of the word ‘balls’. Well, it’s his post so it’s understandable I suppose

  39. @ Amused

    And some of us have both big educated balls and education.

    BUT I do want to congratulate you most sincerely. Today you acknowledged you don’t know much Criminal Law. Three days ago that would not have been possible. and so whatever else we have achieved here we have seen your first growth to reality about yourself. Who knows – by the end we may even find integrity…and that would be nice. Well done!

  40. I said that “Criminal law is not my area of expertise.” I never said that I “……don’t know much Criminal Law.” Anyway, enough of this. I am BIG and EDUCATED and I have never understood why some men who by their own admission are small and uneducated choose to take on (or perpetuate) the characteristics of those pre-adolescents who suffer from an inferiority complex.

  41. @Amused: “It IS easy to fix. Just follow Bushie’s recipe. Fire a few people. But as Bushie says, this requires balls…

    But it also requires empirical data on performance, to avoid “wrongfulness dismissal” claims.

    Hopefully this new building we’ve all paid for, with computers everywhere, is able to collect such simple data….?

    • Yet again the issue of competency of the judiciary in the CLICO matter has come up. Could it be that our judges are not sufficiently competent to discharge this matter in a timely manner given that CLICO is under judicial management?

  42. @Chris. I agree with you. How not? And this data, with the new building and the computers, ought to be very simple to compile. I have no doubt that you could design a programme for just that in very short order. But between providing the hardware and the software and actually getting the staff to utilise both…….. So, orders have to be given and reasonable deadlines set. I believe that this can be done at the rate of 30 files per day per person x 10 people. About 12 working days. Now, you might argue that this is too much, so make it 20 files per person per day x 10 people. 17.5 days. At an 8 hour day, this works out at half an hour per file. Even if there are slowdowns for whatever reason (sickness, improperly sorted files etc.) 60 days is more than enough to do the whole job. Now, Chris, I may be wrong, but surely a programme like Excel could then tabulate and sort the data in less than an hour once it has all be input. I defer to your expert opinion, of course. But if I am right, then Bushie’s solution is not at all unobtainable. In fact, it might even be worth the expense of bringing in a private sector firm to do the job, then it is sure the job will be done on time.

  43. @Amused: “But if I am right, then Bushie’s solution is not at all unobtainable. In fact, it might even be worth the expense of bringing in a private sector firm to do the job, then it is sure the job will be done on time.

    It’s called a “dash board”. And it is trivial to implement.

    I would be happy to provide my expertise, “pro bono”, to help Barbados.

    Please let me provide a link to page for one of my hobby sites, where geeks try to find factors for Mersenne primes:

    Wouldn’t it be cool if the CJ could see, in real time, what his charges were doing?

  44. @Amused: “In fact, it might even be worth the expense of bringing in a private sector firm to do the job, then it is sure the job will be done on time.

    Sorry… You’re a lawyer. Must read your language carefully.

    Why do you assume that a private sector firm will do the job on time?

    Separate question: do you also assume that the job be done on budget?

    Time. Cost. Quality. Choose two.

  45. @Chris. In referring to the Private Sector, I was referring to you. I have every confidence that you could do the job properly, but don’t suggest you do it pro bono.

  46. @Amused: “I have every confidence that you could do the job properly, but don’t suggest you do it pro bono.

    And I thank you for that.

    My point was, this can be done easily. And there are many “returning experts” who would do this for very little money, or even for free. Or, if you need to pay someone, pay some small consulting fees to those who have Barbados’ interests’ at heart.

    We don’t need to contract out to an “away” firm to implement something which is easy to do (and yet we seem to; constantly)….

  47. @Chris. I remember you attending a Light and Power hearing with ROK. I would say that, from that alone, you have Barbados’ interests very much at heart. I suspect that ROK would join me in saying that you are one of us, whether you were born here or not.

  48. @Amused: “I remember you attending a Light and Power hearing with ROK.

    Yeah. For three weeks. Along with Douglas Skeet. And several others.

    Read 1200 pages of background.

    It was all for not; the Company ended up getting almost everything they asked for. As adjudicated by the FTC. And then they sold themselves off to “away” interests…

    But we’re here now…

    And, interestingly, we’re no further along….

  49. @ David.
    I am sure that Caswell Franklyn would keep a copy of that Advocate Supplement and should be only too willing to make it available to you . But you must not forget that it is THIRTY ONE PAGES long and would present obvious difficulties to reproduce it for the benefit of BU readers . But please, get it and read it . And having read it please let BU readers know whether or not you agree with my assessment of it .

  50. @ David
    I wonder if people like OBSERVER , AMUSED , BLOGGER , BUSHIE and ONIONS have read it . If any one of our readers has read it please make sure that robert ross gets a chance to read that supplement .

  51. @Jbo: “If any one of our readers has read it please make sure that robert ross gets a chance to read that supplement .

    We sometimes get lost in games.

    What supplement is so important to read?

  52. @ Chris Halsall
    You must have been asleep ..LOL..I refer you to the post at May 1 at 10 : 55 a.m. on the 31 page supplement published by the BARBADOS ADVOCATE of Sunday , December 9 ,2001 and entitled ” TRIBUTE TO SIR DAVID ” . Happy reading.

  53. @ David

    As you know, from the outset I have worried about the substance of this post. The root of the concern and, indeed, the root of the post is the allegation – from a “credilbe source” – that CCJ judges expressed “displeasure and dismay” to our judges, at a meeting with them, at the “state of the Barbados Courts”. From this premise – a hook onto which to hang something more – there followed the standard vitriol about Sir DS in the context of delay. You yourself added that anyone who looked at the CCJ website would find similar criticism – as if to say that the CCJ is prone to utter ex cathedra condemnations of us freely and for all to see.

    I said of all this that I did “not trust it’. Of course, I know that criticism has been levelled at our courts in individual cases which have come before the CCJ and rightly so. But that criticism, in terms of the website, has to be researched thoroughly by examining the reports in individual cases on the site. Moreover, it seemed incredible to me that the CCJ judges would have insulted us so dramatically in the way the post suggested. This is so at variance with understood diplomatic norms, and the ordinary rules of hospitality, as to beggar belief. It is also at variance with all the kind words which the President of the Court had to say about us.

    Accordingly, I did a little research of my own at, for present purposes, the fount of all wisdom.- and this is what I discovered though some of it I already knew:-




    So David, it seems that I was right to say ‘I don’t trust it’. THE POST WAS PREDICATED, IT SEEMS, ON A LIE. This does not altogether surprise me. But it is very sad indeed that the BU family should have been duped like children in this way to satisfy someone’s personal agenda.

    • @robert

      BU will stay with our source which has delivered in the past.

      Of course you are welcome to go with yours.

  54. @ RR
    BU has received information from a credible source that the CCJ justices met with Barbados’ judges and expressed to them their displeasure and dismay at the state of the Barbados courts.
    …so your research was able to distill EVERY conversation between the the CCJ Justices and the Barbados Judges? and to determine that no such mention was made…?
    Can’t you see that this statement is merely incidental to the actual issue?

    You must REALLY think that we are a bunch of idiots that we would need to rely on the pronouncements of the CCJ to know of the problems in our courts…..
    Only DS and about two other persons would be expected to question the likelihood of the CCJ judges raising the matter of the state of our courts in a historic meeting in Barbados….. what the hell else would you expect them to talk about? religion?

    ….you have now gone past grasping at straws…. you are now getting into other floating stuff that tends to accompany drowning men… especially when they are scared and confused….

  55. @ Bush Tea

    ‘Scared’ – ME? LOL.

    You know, so many seem to respect you. I’m trying to work out why.

  56. @RR
    Not “Scared..”. .. May be it is just “confused” then 🙂

    “Many respect Bushie..”. LOLOL.
    …Caswell – who won’t even fart on Bushie’s job offer

    Man RR again you are wrong on a basic issue…. Take a break do…

  57. @ David .
    I am back after a brief sojourn . Am I seeing wright ? A TRINITY made up of AMUSED, OBSERVER AND BLOGGER ? what an unholy alliance ? but which Observer is this ? There seems to be a few . Sometime ago I suggested to you that we should try to laugh more often . Man these THREE have certainly afforded an opportunity for that . Peace my brother .

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