Barbadians Cry Out as Barbados Bar Association Continues to Protect Crooked Lawyers and Dysfunctional System
On many occasions in which clients have brought disciplinary proceedings against their attorneys for misappropriating or unduly withholding their funds, once the funds have been repaid the client is no longer interested in pursuing the matter at the disciplinary committee – .Liesel Weekes, President of the BAR
The President of the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) Liesel Weekes delivered from legalese text last week an insensitive rebuttal to the public. It is no secret lawyers have withheld client funds, misappropriated client funds, ‘misplaced’ important documents, been unresponsive and unprofessional. Weekes found the time to steadfastly defend her Association as any lawyer is trained to do.
She stated that unless members of the public presented evidence the ‘talk’ about lawyers being crooked is not sufficient to discipline the lawyer being accused. What Weekes and her predecessors have failed to do is update the public on the following just to name a few items:
- The date complaint was received and responded to by the Barbados Bar Association/Disciplinary Committee
- The number of complaints received and the number actioned by the BBA/Disciplinary Association
- Give a listing of the nature of the charges contained in the complaints received by the BBA/Disciplinary Committee
- How many complaints were not followed by the BBA/Disciplinary Committee because accused lawyers frustrated the process
- Provide an Ageing Report’ of complaints outstanding with the BBA/Disciplinary Committee
No we do not accept that as President of the BBA Ms. Weekes has no idea the status of complaints lodged with the Disciplinary Committee. A commonsense approach would have been to have the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee append to the statement issued by Weekes.
Barbados Underground over the years has posted many blogs to highlight a dysfunctional court system including the ancillary services. The blogmaster is aware the BBA and Disciplinary Committee have not been given the resources to provide a quality service to the public. In fact one would deem it a nobrainer given the volume of complaints about the legal system from the public at home and abroad that successive governments would have addressed the matter. One is therefore left to assume tthe obvious.
At the town hall meetings in Canada recently Prime Minister Mia Mottley – a lawyer- admitted that the justice system is failing those who are forced to seek justice. A Barbadian in the diaspora also shared an experience with David Ellis last week where he travelled from overseas to attend a hearing in Barbados and he was not notified that the lawyer defending the matter would have been unavailable.
Over the years the blogmaster has observed some of our ‘best’ lawyers elected to the role of President of the BBA or appointed to Chair the Disciplinary Committee. However, service to the general public has not improved. Despite many of our ‘best’ lawyers having been elevated to become members of parliament and ministers of government where they have the opportunity to influence policymaking.
In the same way the BBA is always quick to comment on legislation harmful to the power brokers, why not recommend a change to the law that would permit the Crown to prosecute lawyers accused of stealing clients funds when there is evidence monies were repaid? The practice of lawyers repaying monies to clients on condition they do not prosecute is immoral and continues to compromise the justice system. Michael Carrington the former Speaker of the House is a good example.
To the lawyers that are members of the government- enough is enough!