When Justice Blinked for 10 Rh Years
One definition of a symptom is defined as a sign of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation. In the last 72 hours this blogmaster found a more lucid meaning for the word. A man that stole a bag and contents including $1,000 cash with a total value of $9,230.30 on the 27 March 2009 – as a result of the act he spent 10 years on remand at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
This story immediately evoked embarrassment in the mind of the blogmaster. It ranks up there with the time raw sewage spewied onto one of our most popular streets on the South Coast.
Barbados Underground has posted voluminously about the dysfunction that defines the Barbados Judiciary. If you are in doubt click on the link at the top of this page – File Complaints Against Lawyers.
Successive governments have paid lip service to the problem. There was great hope when outsider Marston Gibson was recruited to fill the post of Chief Justice. However, without the financial support and the will to penetrate an entrenched culture his job was never going to be easy. Some also question his competence.
Recently Attorney General Dale Marshall announced that the government is in the process of recruiting additional judges to help with improving how justice is dispensed in Barbados. It is interesting to quote Marshall explaining why the search for new judges is being advertised outside of Barbados :-
… to attract the highest calibre of individual to the Bench…I have been a lawyer for almost 30 years and there have been days when I would wake up one day and see in the paper that John Brown is appointed to the Bench. There was no advertisement…None of these were transparent arrangements, but any vacancy for judge in our judiciary, whether High Court or Court of Appeal, will be advertised in Barbados, in the Caribbean, in Caricom, in the Commonwealth, as far as Australia; everywhere in the Commonwealth…
–Dale Marshall, Attorney General
The drive to recruit judges from outside of Barbados is interesting because of the huge number of locally trained lawyers educated at great expense to taxpayers.
How can an educated people go about its daily business if the majority of the population- including those responsible- are not motivated to feel and express outrage at what occurred to Winston Adolphus Agard?
Attorney General Dale Marshall issued a sympathetic statement on the Agard matter as he is politically obligated to do. The question we have to ask is how many more define the revised definition of symptom? How many more human beings are sitting at Dodds prison on remand- forgotten by the system?
Barbadians everywhere thank prison warder Floyd Downes for his civic minded act. It is reported he whispered to court officials including Justice Randall Worrell about the horrific miscarriage of Justice Agard was being made to suffer by the Barbados justice system.
Why, why, why so long? How many more?
This blogmaster urges AG Dale Marshall to direct Superintendent of Prisons John Nurse with immediate effect to audit all inmates on remand at the Dodds prison and report findings. The information that will be of interest is the length of time those on remand. We have to address the symptoms until a more incisive cure can be implemented whenever that may occur.