Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
The behaviour of a Queens Counsel toward a female judge, in Barbados, is another manifestation of the disrespect being displayed toward our women. According to published reports, the Queens Counsel demonstrated his displeasure with the judge by lifting his robe, backing the judge bending over and inviting her to kiss a part of his anatomy.
This single act reveals that disrespect for our women is now rampant at all social and educational levels. We will remain in the forefront of calling for our women to be respected but there is a bigger picture emerging here. Our Caribbean societies have always elevated some professions beyond godlike status. The medical and legal professions have been the chief beneficiaries of such adulation.
While we have had the occasional professional problems with our doctors, we suggest that such incidents have been for from widespread. We can therefore, with some objectivity, concur that the medical professional has maintained high professional standards. However we are aware that some will suggest that unprofessional conduct within the medical professional is not usually made public.
However, we have the legal professionals constantly escaping censorship for unprofessional behaviour. Sometimes they are given a slap on the risk or allowed to flee the country, leaving clients in financial shambles. It is essentially a group with entrenched support in the now powerful political managerial class. To put it bluntly, they are allowed to behave as if they are above the same legal system, they were trained to protect.
While we do not claim to be experts on the legal profession, we are aware that a Queens Counsel is considered to be a senior lawyer and have some professional privileges. We also understand that their fees reflect their professional elevation. We are therefore concerned that their needs to be better screening of those being elevated to the professional heights they enjoy.
While the Chief Justice may be expected to become involved in this sordid issue, we are uncertain of his reach. While we will expect him to at least comment, it will be folly to put pressure on him when this kind of professional vulgarity surfaces. We must bear in mind that this is more of a physical and personal assault on the judge than an outright legal question. We however believe that if a professional code of conduct has been seriously breached, that nothing short of censorship and the removal of Queens Counsel privileges are to be expected.