How Is CJ Gibson Doing?

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice (l) Andrew Pilgrim, President of Barbados Bar Association

Why is the criminal justice systems in Barbados so dysfunctional? Can you imagine they are people being held on remand for over four years, without being charge of crime? Each visit to court police prosecutor D. Cumberbatch will intimidate them into entering guilty plea for crimes they never committed.

You should take a look at a defendant Earl Victor arrested for a robbery he never committed and has been held without charge for almost 5 years. It’s about time we notified Amnesty International, and The US State Department to change its aid commitment to Barbados.

Nora (received via email)

The appointment of CJ Gibson – selected from outside the inner ring – was welcomed by BU. If the delivery of justice has to fit a definition which says justice delayed is justice denied then the backlog of cases reported to be in the thousands before Gibson’s appointment represents a sad tale. It is one year since CJ Gibson’s appointment and there is no noticeable improvement in the delivery of justice from our Court System.

To add to the high expectation for an improved justice system Andrew Pilgrim was elected to head the Barbados Bar Association. Many believed at the time of his appointment that a no nonsense Pilgrim and Gibson possessed the characteristics between them to make a difference to a justice system which has ground to snail pace.

The saying to whom much is given much is expected rings very loud in the case of CJ Gibson. The government stirred controversy by amending the Supreme Court of Judicature Act of Barbados in the dead of night to ensure Gibson’s appointment could not be challenged.  To be fair to CJ Gibson he has become a strident voice in support of the implementation of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).   ADR is not a new idea but the devil is always in the detail (implementation).

Trouble with ADR though is while it can be made mandatory, it only works as mandatory in family law cases. BU agrees that all family law cases i.e. divorce, custody, estate family arrangement etc should go to mediation.

CJ Gibson says that there are 2000 new cases a year, but he doesn’t give a breakdown of the nature of the cases. How many of the 2000 are family law, how many are corporate, commercial and how many are criminal. In other words approximately how many cases a year could be sent to ADR to have the affect of relieving the case load currently choking the system? If he is able to implement ADR, how many cases will that leave per year for the courts to settle? This is vital information to accurately estimate how many new judges will be required to ensure efficient processing of backlog cases reported to be about 3000.

At this stage a suggestion would be to bring in some experienced common law eagles and give them a certain number of cases each and let them wade in. Most civil cases are heard in chambers, so there is not a lot of problem with facilitating this arrangement. This is a low hanging solution, one would have thought CJ Gibson could have rolled out a flavour of this solution.  Instead he continues to talk about ADR ad nauseam which he knows is not the answer because ADR is only binding if both parties agree, and if they do not, the case ends up back on the court roster. It is a nice to have in a situation where there is efficient processing of court cases and add to the quality of justice dispensed.

It is interesting to note Trinidad and Tobago intends to make cases which have been loitering in the system for 10 years eligible for dismissal.  The decision which is intended to relieve congestion in the Court System does not include “murder, manslaughter, rape and other similar serious crimes”.

0 thoughts on “How Is CJ Gibson Doing?

  1. The justice system in Barbados will not improve until politicians relieve themselves of the responsibility of appointing the judiciary. In other words, there is no likelihood that it would improve in the foreseeable future.

  2. Further your point Caswell….
    …and until an alternative government system is chosen by the people, one which has their interest at heart by definition, there is no hope of any meaningful change in the judiciary, the parliament, the supermarkets, the boardrooms or in Broad Street.

    Now do you see why we need the national Cooperative organization to be called the Barbados Unity Party?
    Do you see why you can be so valuable an asset….?

    Hint…(it is NOT because you are handsome, bright, or tactful….. 🙂 )

  3. @Caswell
    The justice system in Barbados will not improve until politicians relieve themselves of the responsibility of appointing the judiciary. In other words, there is no likelihood that it would improve in the foreseeable future
    Quite a statement above, don’t leave us hanging please let us know your suggestions for changing the appointment process.

    • Sargeant

      Prior to the constitutional amendments of 1974, a service commission recommended the appointment of judges to the Governor-General. Regional politicians did not trust each other or themselves to appoint judges of the CCJ and opted for a service commission. As a start, we can revert to the system that was working. One of the reasons for the poor quality of the Barbados judiciary is that politicians appoint their friends not necessarily the best person.

  4. outrageous,only in barbados.the people in charge of this travesty of law should be charged with human rights issues.
    bloody useless lot of government and all officials to do with anything in barbados/ sit on their asses and do fuck all just to collect pay check.
    i and many like minded people will proceed to make barbados a place tourist don’t want to go.
    you will all soon be lazy bunch of funkers.

  5. @ Caswell Franklyn | September 6, 2012 at 6:17 PM |
    “One of the reasons for the poor quality of the Barbados judiciary is that politicians appoint their friends not necessarily the best person”

    What a revelation! You mean to say that old school ties bind very close in our little incestuous society. A Foundationite will always be a Foundationite even if it means amending the law to get one of a kind to sit in the grandmaster’s chair of the inner temple of the sanctum sanctorum.
    Both corners of the goal bars are all protected but not the centre. The Achilles heel of the chess player is Finance. And it is this weakness that will bring down the giant pretender to the throne like Jack and the Beanstalk. A Green giant he is not by any stretch of the imagination.

    Maybe if your man of similar school ties had not given up the ghost you would have been in line for a senior judicial seat serving as handmaiden to the big boy in apron as before under a different dispensation.
    BTW, I enjoy reading your Sunday column. Family ties don’t always guarantee permanence. One can always be replaced in the twinkling of an eye, if you know what I mean.

    • Miller

      Thanks, I am glad that you enjoyed Frankly Speaking.

      I have had my fill of political jobs. By the way, I had a number of offers from the man with a similar school tie and I refused, preferring to remain his friend.

  6. What are you going to report? A bunch of libel on the internet written by some seriously dumb people? That B’dos police falsify INTERPOL documents etc? INTERPOL has a fact checking / legal department that all red notices go through. If you do not meet stringent requirements a notice is not issued, in fact B’dos won’t even request a red notice lest in extremely serious cases.

    Earl Victor fled the country, didn’t even wait to be interviewed by Police or even put his side of the story.

    I read that piece on the TOPIX side and I have to say do we seriously have bajans that believe that nonsense? I don’t doubt that poorer people are more disadvantaged in terms of representation but all that nonsense about the Police, you would think the Police see Earl Victor as enemy of the state number 1, when in fact Earl Victor is just another case to be investigated.

    And please, the FBI investigate the RBPF? Since when is America credible to investigate anyone? They continue their subversion of Governments across the world, have ousted many sovereign governments through subversion since world war 2, and for God’s sake they detain anyone they like at their torture camp in Cuba Guantanamo Bay, where persons have no representation, and no idea when they will be released and are held without being charged for any crime.

    So come now….think before you spew.

  7. i have sent this column to the American embassy
    and the human rights people in Switzerland.
    and will continue to send it to any and all authority about human rights
    i can find a e mail for.
    das boot up your arse.

  8. if i was held with out charges for 1 month if and when i got out.
    i would kill whoever was responsible.also bombs would start going off in barbados.i am surprised they haven’t yet.yet i the Irish population is well known for that kind of intervention.
    tourism done then ..time will come when some one with the guts and balls will .

  9. @David of course I know as the admin you can check IP addresses. I won’t hide it lol.

    But much in the same way that you wish anonymity for whatever reasons you find valid so do I. If you wish you can provide me with an email I can email you at and we can meet and I’ll tell you all about Earl Victor.

    I could be the best friend you ever had.

  10. @harry
    Still doesn’t change the fact you are dumb, some people will believe anything they read, I am glad I am not one. I prefer to investigate for myself especially when the allegations are so vicious and libelous.

    I am sending this column to the centre for IQ deficiency so they can test yours and hopefully yank your license to be on the internet.

  11. posh,
    suck out me rass,
    i am guessing you are a stupid negroid.lolo
    wat a foolish fellow.
    you believe what anyone tells you.
    buzz off

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