The BBA and DC maybe have received a dose of its own medicine.
In today’s press former member of parliament and prominent criminal attorney Michael Lashley has expressed “ fears that lawyer-client privacy at police stations is under threat, based on the Barbados Police Service’s findings in the “cell phone under the table” incident”. His reaction was to the incident where a cell phone was found taped under a desk at District E in a room used by attorneys and clients.
The blogmaster has no problem with the Barbados Bar Association (BBA), Faith Greaves, a junior lawyer at Michael Lashley & Associates, expressing outrage at the incident. Obviously an attempt was made by someone to subvert the process. Unfortunately, Barbadians have tolerated repeated attempts by officialdom to rub the brown stuff in our faces. What the incident exposes is a level of corruption perpetrated by actors responsible for honouring the justice system.
Given the nature of your complaint, a forensic analysis was conducted to this cellular phone by the Regional Security System. The forensic analysis of the cellular phone was carried out to determine whether it was fit for use or carried any recorded information thereon.
“That forensic examination revealed that the phone was unserviceable and that there was no recording on the phone. That the phone had no bearing on the matter involving the attorney-client privileged communication. The forensic examination also showed there was no link between the investigations involving your client and the cellular phone.
The Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee are enabling agencies to ring fence the profession.
This brief notice published to today’s press piqued the blogmaster’s interest. We have twelve more lawyers who will earn the right to wear silks as well as adding a few more dollars to the client invoice.
Special Supreme Court sitting
THERE WILL BE a Special Sitting of the Supreme Court of Barbados on Friday at 10 a.m. to admit to the Inner Bar 12 attorneys who have been appointed as Senior Counsel.
They are Wilfred Abrahams, Tammy Bryan, Gillian Henderson Clarke, Rudolph Greenidge, Kathy-Ann Hamblin, Edmund Hinkson, Arthur Holder, Anika Jackson, Stephen Lashley, Angela Mitchell-Gittens, Alliston Seale and Liesel Weekes. (BGIS)
It is a bad rap on Hugh Wooding law school and simply a disgrace to the profession.
Submitted by Chefleur
Once upon a time the legal profession was considered noble. I had to pause from my very busy schedule to chronicle to inform you and the public of some very disturbing events and atrocious behaviour of a member of the Guyana Bar.
Before my mother died I filed various DVA before the Magistrate’s courts in Georgetown. A particular attorney representing the defendants would enter the chambers spewing his diatribe, in order to sway the Magistrate from granting the protection order sought.
Because of his utterances all those requests for protection of my elderly and abused mother were given a mere “keep the peace” warning. My mother died because various magistrates in Guyana *refused* to act to protect an ailing elderly person.
Since my mother’s death in January 2022 this same attorney has filed various ridiculous motions on the estate. All were promptly dismissed for no grounds by understandably very irate judges.
The matter covered by Barbados Underground for more than a decade between Sir Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham versus Everton Cumberbatch continues to play on the civic minded among us- see BU Archives. The blogmaster has a problem with a very senior lawyer AND elder of the governing Barbados Labour Party (BLP) continuing to be selected for important national appointments while a serious complaint is pending with the Disciplinary Committee (DC). It is instructive to note the DC is blocked from doing its work- if it had any intention of doing so- because Cheltenham has been granted an injunction pending the completion of an application of a judicial review as reported in the Nation as follows:
The blogmaster takes a note that Sir Richard Cheltenham continues to perform in the role of Chairman of the Parliamentary Reform Commission (PRC). The blogmaster has no issue with the quote attributed to him in yesterday’s media – “We have inherited a bicameral system; a House of Assembly and the Senate, but now we have to ask ourselves whether we should continue that system or whether we should have one chamber; a unicameral [system]…We’ve always used the first-past-the-post system that gets most votes at the polls to determine membership but there are questions about whether a mixture of first past the post and proportional representation. . . all of those questions will be on the agenda and have to be carefully considered”. It is important work and hopefully the PRC will deliver on its mandate.
What the blogmaster has a problem with is the fact Sir Richard Cheltemham has a matter pending with the Disciplinary Committee of the BAR association. Several blogs have been published on Barbados Underground (BU) through the years directing the public to matters requiring answers from Cheltemham and local authorities without success. BU also questions those who agree to sit on a committee with Cheltenham with serious accusations outstanding waiting to be ruled on by the Disciplinary Committee of the BAR. Further, BU questions why a Mottley government advocating a political agenda of good governance and integrity continue to appoint persons who are being investigated for possible wrongdoings.#peterodle
An interesting news item this week centred around Prime Minister Mia Mottley who continues to loom large on the local, regional and dare twe suggest the international stage? Mottley has attracted the ire of some in the legal community for suggestions made at the recent Regional Symposium: Violence As a Public Health Issue organized by CARICOM.
We need to start rotating judges and magistrates in the region to ensure that there is not the familiarity with counsel and other circumstances and things that people take for granted.
Who better than Mottley to understand some of the challenges our legal system continues to pose. She has been immersed in the moribund system for all of her life and if caught in an informal conversation after a stiff drink and a ‘smoke’ may admit she has been a contributor to the flawed system over the years.
For some time I have been hearing a person on social media proclaiming that Barbados does not have a constitution. Normally, I would listen in amusement and take it for the comic relief that it provided but now it is no longer funny. It has potential to become dangerous and reckless as I am now hearing others expressing disrespect for the court system because they are also parroting the nonsense about this country not having a constitution. I am concerned that Government has not attempted to clarify the situation and has allowed this dangerous nonsense to take root.
In September 2021, Government brought a bill to Parliament entitled:
An Act to alter the Constitution in order
(a) to provide for Barbados to become a republic with a President who shall be Head of State of Barbados; and
(b) to provide for related matters.
It might have slipped pass many but one of the related matters was legislating, for the first in the Barbados Parliament, a constitution for this country. The original independence constitution of Barbados was never passed in our parliament, it was merely a schedule to an order in council, the Barbados Independence Order, made by Queen Elizabeth II.
In recent days Attorney General Dale Marshall has been in the news relating to several matters. Two items piqued the blogmaster’s interest.
In summary he said he had been following the issue concerning the wall at Joe’s River in St. Joseph, the constituency he represents. And that he was forced to decline public comment on the matter because future developments may involve aspects of his ministry.
See relevant extract of Attorney General Marshall commenting on the issue.
In yesterday’s press there was a reminder of Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham’s appointment as Chairman of the Parliamentary Reform Commission (PRC). The mandate of the PRC according to Attorney General Dale Marshall at a recent press conference is to review the structure and function of parliament.
The other news of interest was the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) calling for action from government to address “issues affecting the rights of persons in police custody…protocols governing the conduct of attorney’s confidential communication with accused persons’ (Nation newspaper 13/02/2023). The BBA was reacting to the discovery of a cellphone in recording mode found in the interview room where attorneys at law interview clients.
The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) in its 2018 Covenant of Hope states at item number 3, ‘The Barbados Labour Party stands for good and transparent governance’. Similarly under Aims and Objects item (g) of the Guidelines of the Barbados Bar Association (Chapter 363) it states- ‘To settle questions of professional conduct, discipline and etiquette’.
Last week the government promised to make another attempt to enact The Integrity in Public Life Bill. Our honorable members of parliament from the two main political parties have been promising Barbadians integrity legislation since the mid 70s. And they say a promise is comfort for fools.
How can a former minister of government and former Queens Counsel now Kings Counsel (Senior Counsel) ignore a summons from the entity responsible under the law for hearing disciplinary complaints? Who Johnny Cheltenham think he is? For the record, Richard ‘Johnny’ Cheltenham is the brother of Patterson Cheltenham, CHIEF JUSTICE OF BARBADOS.
SIR Richard Cheltenham would have received a summons mirroring the document below.
Has Sir Richard Lionel Cheltenham KA., KC, Ph.D been called by the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association for grave professional misconduct and is in breach of 22 of the clauses of the Legal Profession Act?
The Barbados legal eagle was ordered by the disciplinary Committee to submit a sworn affidavit to the complaint #31 0f 2020 and appear for the hearing of the complaint. How could such a case escape the media when other attorneys in breach with the same professional misconduct are being prosecuted and imprisoned?
Scott informed the committee that the Sir Richard, summoned called by this court, with status and authority of the High Court, will not be attending the second hearing in March.
A story carried in the Nation newspaper with the headline NHC Evicts Tenant on the 29 September 2022 caught the eye. The tenant was evicted after falling $100,000 in arrears. It became a court matter in 2014 and a court order was issued by the Barbados Court of Appeal to evict handed down in April 2022 according to the report. The report suggested the tenant felt comfortable racking up the rent because she was a close friend of a politician affiliated with the government of the day. for sure other reasons are at play.
There are several issues inquiring minds should want to unpack arising from the report.
We understand a culture of nepotism operating in Barbados is entrenched to the point it is defended as a right of practice. That a tenant would feel emboldened to occupy a taxpayer subsidised housing unit since 2011 and refuse to pay a single cent in rent is probably the tip of the iceberg. Let us not forget the decision government took regarding squatters at Rock Hall in order to be politically expedient.
Why did the case take 12 years to reach a point an eviction order was finally issued by the Court of Appeal in April?
What does it say about inefficient processes required to seek justice?
What does it say about how the NHC as agent for government prosecuted the matter?
Who dropped the ball in this matter to the point taxpayers are left holding the bag to the tune of $100,000 plus legal and other cost incurred with the case?
Stories are heard daily about the grief landlords have to endure with uncooperative tenants. If the government had to initiate a 12 year process and tens of thousands dollars to evict a single tenant, what hope is there the process will be less accommodating for John Citizen?
One suspects there is more to the matter detailed in the Nation newspaper – isn’t there enough historical information to support we have a problem?
A problem that can be defined by the sloth of government bureaucracy, a moribund justice system AND a citizenry unwilling to actively exercise its civic duty.
See Nation article.
NHC evicts tenant
Almost $100 000 in arrears, says state-owned entity
A WOMAN WHO OWES the National Housing Corporation (NHC) close to $100 000 in rental arrears accumulated over a 12-year period, was finally evicted yesterday from the unit she was occupying at Country Park Towers, Country Road, St Michael.
Court marshals swooped down on the third storey unit early yesterday morning and began moving out furniture and other household effects in the presence of the woman and her daughter.
The rental arrears is said to be the most owed by a tenant in recent times.
Last April this newspaper reported that the NHC had won a judgement in the Court of Appeal for $86 000 against the delinquent tenant for the outstanding arrears while the court had also granted the state owned entity permission to take possession of the unit. Since then the arrears had continued to increase and was said to now be at $94 000.
When contacted about this matter, the NHC issued a statement through its public relations department indicating that the action, though unfortunate, was unavoidable.
“The eviction process this morning was carried out by court marshals in accordance with a court order issued. This has been an ongoing legal matter dating as far back as 2014, when the court originally granted an order for eviction as a result of outstanding arrears. At that time, the tenant was granted leave to appeal the order. However, she took no further action and the court reinstated the order last year. This process was completed today,” the statement read.
It added: “This is an unfortunate situation, one which we at the NHC worked hard to avoid, as we normally do in these circumstances. Long before this became a court matter in 2014 our finance department sent numerous statements advising of the outstanding arrears. Several letters were also sent and many calls were made to the tenant in an attempt to come to a suitable arrangement to settle. These are steps the NHC ordinarily take when clients are in arrears. However, during this time the tenant made no attempt to cooperate with us either by making payments towards the arrears or rent. Evictions are not taken lightly by the NHC, especially in these times. This is definitely not the route we wish to take. We tried everything in our power to come to a mutual agreement to avoid what eventually unfolded today.”
Reports indicate that the woman moved into the high rise unit in 2011 shortly after it was built but never paid a cent of the $207 weekly in rent even though she was gainfully employed.
Sources revealed that when summoned to a meeting at the NHC, the woman had indicated that she was “a very close friend” of a politician from a previous administration and was recommended by that person to occupy the unit.
A source said following last year’s court order the NHC served notice on the woman to vacate the premises but she did not move out, which forced them to go to the chief marshal for possession.
The source further revealed that the woman’s possessions which were taken away by two trucks yesterday, would be marked and placed in storage and she would be given an opportunity to collect them.
Speaking on this matter back in 2020, George Edghill, deputy chairman of the NHC board, had pointed out that when the new board was appointed in June 2018, the tenant was already in arrears of over $55 000. He said the board had at that time instructed the legal department to
take all appropriate legal action to repossess the unit.
Yesterday an NHC official reiterated that while the NHC always worked with tenants who were going through financial hardship, it would not tolerate tenants who were employed but refused to pay rent.
During the court proceedings the NHC was represented by attorneys Roy Alleyne and Nicole Gibson while Kings Counsel Michael Lashley appeared amicus curiae for the tenant after her attorney Denis Headley asked the court for leave to withdraw.
There is a strident debate being waged by a group of citizens led by Tricia Watson to have the Electric Light and Power (Amendment) Bill 2022 withdrawn by the government of Barbados. At the root of the challenge is the surreptitious approach government through uncouth Minister Kerri Symmonds to introduce a Bill to evade early public scrutiny AND the lack of a robust documented procedure for making the application process to generate electricity transparent.
We have finally reached a point in Barbados where the liberalisation of the electricity supply affords the opportunity for government to ensure ordinary Barbadians are well positioned to be enfranchised by the limitless financial potential of an emerging sector. The eminently qualified Tricia Watson (and company) has been dogged in critiquing the Bill which to their credit forced the original draft to be amended to current text.
The blogmaster is not qualified to enter the weeds of the debate BUT knows a thing or two about the urgent need for improved governance and the need to create opportunities to distribute wealth on an island where a few control a disproportionate amount of the economic pie. As long as humankind exist there will be demand for electricity. It is important non traditional players are given a fair chance to secure an equitable stake in a sector about to boom
In 2022 we should not be having this type of conversation as it relates to empowering non traditional owners of capital. Here is another one of those opportunities where a majority passive citizenry can constructively engage by entering the debate posting to Barbados Parliament website, calling the talk shows, sending articles to traditional and social media, bombarding everywhere Kerri Symmonds has a social media presence to name a few.
You are encouraged to follow Tricia Watson’s Facebook account for informed updates.
The death of the Lovell family formerly of Breezy Hill, St. Philip continues to be a talking point. The event as reported is unusual for Barbados not accustomed to a family that included young children perishing in questionable circumstances. The blogmaster will resist speculating about how the event occurred.
However, it is interesting to note one of the deceased persons was lawyer Allison Alexander-Lovell who was sanctioned by the Disciplinary Committee for withholding $160,000 of client’s monies in 2016. It is reported she was due to reappear in Court this week on the matter.
The blogmaster as a human being joins the majority of Barbadians who are sorry the Lovell family met untimely deaths. However, it has not gone unnoticed the ire many Barbadians have taken the opportunity to direct at lawyers. For many years lawyers have been known to sit on clients funds and important legal documents for unreasonably lengthy periods; sometimes for always without fear of being sanctioned by the Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee.
The fact that successive governments have been composed of members of the legal profession has stoked public cynicism that this is a profession that is about preserving the establishment and the way it does business at any cost. The blogmaster has cited too many examples since its inception in 2006. One of the more blatant examples is a sitting Speaker of the House Michael Carrington who had to be ordered by the high court to surrender monies to a septuagenarian former client without having to step down from serving as Speaker of the House of Assembly AND with the blessing of then prime minister Freundel Stuart. You cannot make this stuff up.
Members of the legal profession in Barbados should be aware of what is referred to as the ‘tipping point’ – ‘defined as the point at which a series of small changes or incidents become significant enough to cause a larger, more important change’. Let it not be stated this blogmaster is stoking ‘insurrection’ against the legal fraternity, the blogmaster has friends and family who are members. Notwithstanding the affinity, rising anti-lawyer sentiment in the country is real and will not take many more changes to set the cat amongst the pigeons.
We are living in harsh economic times, citizens will not continue to be docile while access to money and property are withheld from them by greedy, corrupt lawyers. The time has long past for the Barbados Bar Association and Disciplinary Committee to switch from PR mode to one of policing its members in the interest of the public it serves. There is also a role for government as policy maker to protect the public it swore to serve.
The arrest of former premier of BVI Andrew Fahie in the USA last week on a narcotics charge has caused regional tongues to wag for several reasons. It is disappointing to have to witness an elected officials betray the public trust expected of them. It is more disturbing when the arrested person is Black (note Fahie is currently on bail in the USA awaiting his day in court. A reminder a man is innocent until declared guilty).
It boggles the mind tinpot politicians to satisfy one of the seven deadly sins never learn, in this case still having the courage to cross US borders. In the famous words of Carlos Suarez – you do the crime you do the time.
Fahie’s arrest and possible incarceration serves as a reminder to Barbadians what happened to former minister Donville Inniss currently serving a 24 month sentence in the USA for money laundering. Another public servant based on the court hearing who betrayed a public he swore to serve. Some will debate this matter within the boundary of the law to suggest Inniss was ‘unfaired’ by the ‘system’, however, there is a strong ethical case still for him to answer to answer.
The most intriguing observation about regional politicians landing in hot soup is the patience of USA authorities to wait for the ‘fly’ to fly into the spider’s web. Is this a case of USA authorities lacking confidence in extradition treaties with regional countries? The case of former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner comes to mind, he has been fighting an extradition request from the USA since 2015. Alex Tasker has been fighting an extradition request from the US also since 2021 in connection with the ICBL/Donville Inniss matter.
The recent case of a St. Vincent court rejecting a request from the US government to extradite Kern Z Mayers to answer charges dating to 2006 makes for interesting reading. Has the time come for CARICOM to take a regional approach to extradition requests? Our friend Caleb Pilgrim is asking.
A court in St Vincent and the Grenadines has refused an application by the United States to extradite a Vincentian man, who is said to be among the most wanted in Pennsylvania.
“The court has considered carefully the arguments and submissions, examined all affidavits and other evidence, case law, statutory guidelines, and the court finds that given all the circumstances it would be unjust to return him,” said Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne in a recent ruling.
The authorities in the United States wanted Kingstown to send Kern Z Mayers back to Pennsylvania to answer charges in relation to a January 4, 2006 incident in that state.
“Law enforcement attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Kern Mayers. In an attempt to flee from the police, Kern Mayers struck several vehicles and injured police officers. After a vehicle and foot pursuit, Kern Mayers was captured. Mayers was released from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and then failed to attend his scheduled court hearing on January 25, 2006,” the website Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers said of the allegation against Mayers.
While in St Vincent, the police in Kingstown arrested Mayers at a business place in the city on December 10, 2020, a few years after he returned to St. Vincent and the Grenadines..
Lawyers Joseph Delves and Grant Connell represented him in the extradition hearing.
Connell also testified on Mayers’ behalf during the proceedings in which Rose-Ann Richardson appeared for the Crown.
In her ruling, the chief magistrate noted that the Crown had submitted that Mayers is a fugitive and should be returned to the United States to answer to the charges.
However, Delves submitted that not all the offences are relevant and that the Crown had not shown that the extradition is permitted under the Fugitive Offenders Act.
The chief magistrate pointed out that Mayers was arrested on the basis of being wanted in Pennsylvania, as he had not appeared at court on January 25, 2006 for the preliminary enquiry.
She noted that evidence was presented viva voce or orally, by affidavit and documentary evidence.
Browne further pointed out that the Fugitive Offenders Act and the extradition treaty between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States govern extradition between both countries.
The United States charged Mayers with two counts with each charge comprising several charges, including alleged possession of two grams of cocaine and injuries to a police officer.
Only some offences extraditable
The court held that some of the counts were extraditable while others were not.
The chief magistrate noted that the law says a person shall not be returned if: the court of committal is satisfied by reason of the trivial nature of the case; the accusation against the fugitive, having not been made in good faith; the passage of time since the committal of the offence; any sufficient cause as it would, having regard to all circumstances be unjust or oppressive or too severe a punishment to return the fugitive.
The Crown argued that the issue of statute of limitation did not apply as Mayers absconded and had no reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the Commonwealth.
It was further contended that the offences were committed on January 4, 2006, and he was immediately arrested and charged and soon thereafter failed to show up on January 25, 2006, for the hearing.
Despite the fact that five-year and two-year statutes of limitation exist, the limit is not applicable as the respondent absconded, the Crown further argued.
However, Mayers’ lawyers contended that the passage of time was critical and having regard to all circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive and too severe a punishment to send him back to face trial in the United States.
They argued that the offences were allegedly committed in January 2006 and the extradition proceedings commenced in 2021.
The lawyers told the court that 15 years is an inordinately long period and the prosecution of the offences should have commenced in 2011 and not in 2017.
They said there was no evidence that Mayers was not continuously in the Commonwealth between 2006 and 2011.
They also contended that an address of New York was given in 2017.
The court also noted that all charges were dated 2017, adding that even though the affidavit by James McMonagle Jr, the assistant district attorney for Pennsylvania, said that the complaints were destroyed in 2015, “What is the nexus between these matters before the court?”
US authorities said that the indictments were accidentally destroyed while documents were being purged.
And while they said that the court keeps copies of the original documents those exhibited in the extradition proceeding were documents filed in 2017, even as Mayers was indicted in 2006.
Mayers’ lawyers argued that the document that should be exhibited are those from 2006 and, therefore, the matter was really brought against Mayers in 2017 — way past the statute of limitation.
They pointed out that the US government did not explain why it took so long and raised issues.
The lawyers also argued that Mayers would not receive a fair trial in the United States.
SCOTUS has the votes to overturn Roe vs Wade. Former President Donald Trump appointed 3 conservative justices to the Supreme Court of the United States which has given the SCOTUS a conservative leaning for the many years to come. Another example how political maneuverings affect the delivery of justice by the highest court in the USA (not uncommon to the USA). A leak of a draft opinion suggests SCOTUS will reverse Roe vs Wade, one of the biggest wedge issues ‘bubbling’ in the US public space; the right of a woman to have an abortion which the Roe vs Wade decision has protected for 50 years after SCOTUS issued a 7 to 2 decision in favour of Norma McCorvey 1973.
It started in 2018 after the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) handed the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the third parties an unprecedented 30 to zero drubbing in the general election. Many still believe a constitutional crisis was averted when Bishop Joe Atherley crossed the floor and a Leader of the Opposition (LoO) was recognized to ensure the business of parliament as outlined in the Constitution was carried out.
Who would have thunk it?
Prime Minister Mottley called a snap general election 18 months early and repeated a 30 to love win on 19 January 2022. On this occasion, no sitting MP seems willing to follow in the Bishop’s footsteps. The President of the Republic is unwilling to exercise discretion to appoint 2 Opposition Senators. Prime Minister Mottley in her infinite wisdom magnanimously has started the process to amend the Barbados Constitution to allow for the appointment of the 2 Opposition Senators from the losing political party that garnered the most votes. If that party refuses the opportunity to appoint slides to the next losing party.
Here we are!
The news former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite filed a motion with the Court to rule on the legitimacy of the Senate should not surprise political pundits if one listened to the position of interim President of the DLP Steve Blackett. With the amendment to the Constitution proceeding in the parliament the DLP would eventually be forced into position of accepting the offer to appoint 2 Opposition Senators which would contradict the publicly stated position of the DLP represented by interim President Steve Blackett.
A couple interesting sidebar observations. The former AG Brathwaite is being represented by attorneys-at-law Garth Patterson and Michelle Russell. Last week Brasstacks talk show host Glyne Murray observed the lawyers keeping the most ‘noise’ in the Barbados space on the the constitutionality of parliament are of Jamaican lineage. In fairness to Russell and Patterson they have been residing in Barbados for a long time, however, the blogmaster understands Murray’s point given the large cohort of Barbadians lawyers educated with our tax dollars.
One of the reasons forwarded why Mottley called an early general election was to quell an uprising by a faction in the BLP. Is it reasonable to opine if a few BLP MPs are dissatisfied with Mottley’s leadership a golden opportunity now presents itself for the malcontents to express themselves by crossing the floor or sounding their voices?
The matter has gone the route of the Court and whatever the decision at first instance is will likely progress to the CCJ. What we have is a people suffering from economic fatigue, COVID-19 fatigue and you may add to the maladies, post election fatigue. Is this another opportunities to blame lawyers?
Former Brathwaite in his released stated in part that he felt “compelled to seek the intervention of the Courts to resolve this controversy, one that centres around issues of vital national importance, and goes to the root of our democracy.” The blogmaster notes the former AG has advised that the matter is being brought in his capacity as a private citizen. How convenient!
Why did this extract from Brathwaite’s statement pique the interest of the blogmaster? Under Brathwaite’s tenure as AG with responsibility for the judiciary, he left it in a worse condition than he found it. The political games that lawyer politicians play mean an already congested court system has to adjudicate a matter created by lawyers.
On 18 January 2022, I attended the Supreme Court to support those in COVID-19 isolation having the right to vote. I was directed to sit in the Gallery – which I did.
This was evidently an important case. There were ten senior lawyers, including the Attorney General himself, representing the Government and the President, against our lone lawyer.
INTO THE ZONE.
I sat down in the Gallery and began to write – every word, every argument, every objection, and the judge’s ruling on each objection. Soon, my writing became automatic as I began to analyse the arguments in real time. I smiled as the familiar Dopamine hormone flowed – I was in the zone.
After writing eight pages, I was interrupted by a Court Marshall. I tried to remain in the zone while giving him some attention. “You can’t write”, he said, as I started the ninth page. The judge was ruling on an objection raised by the other side, and I did not want to miss it. I assumed he was commenting on my handwriting, so I simply shook my head in disagreement and continued.
OUT OF THE ZONE.
“You can’t write in here.” He insisted. The judge had sustained the objection, and our lawyer commenced speaking. I quickly held up the page to show him that I could, in fact, write “in here”. I was still in the zone, and hoped that my evidence of writing would cause him to leave me alone. Any hope of that ended when he finally gave a clear instruction. “You are not allowed to write in here.”
Life a speeding train hitting an unmoveable object, I tumbled out of the zone. I was upset. I was learning so much from these legal practitioners. He was insisting that I stop writing immediately. I complied. I also asked him to accompany me outside of the room to where we could discuss this matter.
OBEYING THE RULES.
“Why am I not allowed to take notes?” I asked. “Are you a lawyer?” He countered. I explained that I was not, but that I had represented myself in two cases in the High Court, and was representing myself in two cases before the Court of Appeal. “Are you a lawyer?” He asked again. “No, I am not a lawyer, but I am here to learn from lawyers” I explained as I showed him my notes,
“If you are not a lawyer, then you are not allowed to write in here.” He stated. “Why not?” I asked. “Because that is the rule, and if the judge looked up here and saw you writing, you would get in trouble.” He said. What could judges find so objectionable about someone taking notes, I thought. However, I had no intention of offending the judge, so, I agreed to return to my seat and write no more.
APPEALING THE RULES.
Upon re-entering, I noticed that there were three people seated. The person nearest to the door where the Court Marshall was stationed, was a lady – and she was writing. I asked the Court Marshall if there were exceptions to this rule. “She is a reporter”, he said. “And I am an Engineer”, I responded. “Only reporters and lawyers are allowed to write notes in here.” He declared.
“I would like to appeal this rule.” I said. “You can’t.” He responded. “Why not?” I asked. “Because I checked with my superiors before telling you to stop writing.” He answered. “Who are these superiors.” I asked. He gave me the name of his superior.
THE END OF LEARNING.
I decided to return to my seat and try to get back in the zone. It was useless. I am a read and write type of learner – I need to write, and then read what I have written, to facilitate my learning. When I am in the zone, I just have to write. I now had to try to remember what I was hearing, while trying to analyse that information. That is easier for auditory-dominant learners – but I am not an auditory-dominant learner.
Sitting there, I soon realised that I was wasting my time – and it was frustrating, because I wanted to stay, but I was not learning anything. So I left the room in search of this fellow to whom I could appeal this rule. I was told that he was in the basement of another building, and there was no contact number for this mysterious basement-dweller. So, I left the Supreme Court and returned to my office.
Why is writing notes in court such a major offence, that it must be actively stamped out by our Court Marshalls? What is the harm or inefficiency that this rule is intended to limit? I thought of O’Brien’s advice to Winston, in George Orwell’s book, 1984. “You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
It seems that our judges have only given permission for lawyers and reporters to take notes in Court. If others want to take notes, they must request the Court Marshall, to request the Judge’s legal assistant, to request permission from the judge to be heard. If permission to be heard is granted, then they may then ask the judge for permission to take notes, and why they want to take notes. If the reason is not sufficiently persuasive, permission may be denied.
Since 2009 I was on this matter. Landlord’s Agent acting on instructions from Attorney [through Mr Gill] entered my dwelling while I was out of the country and stole my personal items. Paintings, collectibles and our 6-month-old photos [60 yrs n 27 yrs].
Tried to get the police to deal with it to no avail. Had however gotten them to elicit a verbal agreement from the presumptuous crooks [who in fact had gone to the station to report me] to compensate me for my property. Then in 2019 [ten years later] I filed. Mr Omari Drakes’s defense was “Statute Barred”. I proved him wrong. The Judge refused to give me justice, still. But I waited for the order so as to appeal this tomfoolery, to no avail.
However, I applied pressure consistently throughout all that time and finally Clarke Gittens and Farmer is ready to issue the Final Order. One year and six months. Because of the exposé.
My advice to people is first:
Handle your own case. You have the details and a better understanding of the events.
Secondly do not be cowed by the woofy talking of stuffy, soothy attorneys, like those I was up against.
This is a new dispensation.
My ships are coming in to port.
The Appeal Court Registry too, emailed me advising of the date for the appeals against BCC and another both of which decisions were given in August 2019 and appeals filed the very next week.
When you step into a RING, be prepared to box to your death.
The following is an email thread between Cherfleur and Evelyn Gittens & Farmer (Read from bottom to top to follow the chronology of the communication, some header info redacted) – Blogmaster
From: Gabrielle Francis
To: Cherfleur; Omari Drakes
Sent: Wed, Jan 26, 2022 10:35 am
Subject: RE: CV 871 of 2019 – WITHOUT PREJUDICE
Good morning Ms. Cherfleur,
We are in possession of the Order dated August 21, 2020. Kindly advise whether you can visit our office on Friday January 28, 2022 to collect the Order.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Gabrielle Francis BSc.
From: Cherfleur Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 1:18 PM To: Omari Drakes Cc: Gabrielle Francis Subject: Re: CV 871 of 2019 – WITHOUT PREJUDICE
On August 21st you stated that you were charging for one hour only, that being $375, before being prompted by the judge that i should not be objecting to that because the assessed cost would be much higher based on my claim for what she identified as $46,000 (give or take).
While I appreciate more hours may have been empoyed I do not appreciate the jump from $375 and a gentleman’s agreement to assessed cast and $5,945.
Another matter with a defense submitted and thus more research n analysis was far less.
Your clients were given numerous opportunities since 200o to compensate and settle this matter but reneged.
You changed the context of costs claims with your stated intention to appeal. This was communicated to the Court in your presence. The sum I presented to you is what we believe our clients are entitled to receive. It is a claim supported by law. If you wish to offer a different sum you are free to do so but will have to justify the legal basis on which you believe a lower sum is justified. If we are unable to agree we will go back to Court and the Court will make a separate order in relation to costs.
As you would have heard in the hearing the Court arrived at a similar figure to the one that we have claimed so your chances of obtaining a lower figure by way of a Court assessment is low. Please bear this in mind when you make any counter offer.
From: Cherfleur Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:28 AM To: Omari Drakes Cc: Gabrielle Francis Subject: Re: CV 871 of 2019
Dear Mr Drakes:
1. I was under the impression that ‘agreed cost’ meant we discuss a mutual fee, failing which it would be assessed (by the judge).
2. Since I am only now presented with this cost and it is neither agreed or assessed how do you propose receiving a Final Order without the cost included? Does this mean a two part order or an Order with an arbitrary cost?
Is the below your official submission of Cost Application?
The decision was made based on your stated intention to appeal; thereby continuing litigation.
You have previously asked for our claim for costs in the matter. Based on the nature of the matter brought by you, costs must be determined pursuant to Part 65.5 of the Supreme Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2008. This rule deals with prescribed costs which are determined based on the value of the claim. You quantified your claim as being the sum of $46,845.00. Based on the prescribed costs table set out at Appendix B of Part 65, the costs on a claim of $46,845.00 are $13,211.25. The sum of $13,211.25 must then be considered in the context of Appendix C of Part 65. To the extent that the matter was adjudicated upon prior to a defence being filed, we are only entitled to claim 45% of the prescribed costs. This being the sum of $5,945.00. In the circumstances, we claim costs in the sum of $5,945.00 on behalf of our clients.
It is our understanding that the we shall shortly receive the final order from the Court. In the circumstances, please let us know where and when would be a convenient time to serve the Order.
Finally, given the current status of the matter, we do not consider it appropriate to include the Judge’s secretary on the email chain. Therefore I have removed her from the chain.
From: Cherfleur Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2020 6:34 PM To: Omari Drakes Subject: CV 871 of 2019
Dear Mr Drakes
I believe the decision on this matter on august 21, was Dismissed, when I responded saying that I would appeal the decision being the only recourse for dismissal.
I have noted that the Draft Order states Struct Out. This makes a difference to the options at my disposal.
Was your decision to reconsider the cost originally stated ($375) because my response was to appeal verses refile or is your decision to reconsider the cost influenced by any course of action I might take to continue litigation?
Having examined the Draft Order I have another option to exercise.
I, therefore, need to know whether your decision to change the cost was determined solely by my initial position to appeal or any other option I may exercise.
Further, if this aspect remains unsettled how can there be a final order or what will the Final Order reflect?
I eagerly await your response and the Final Order.
In the High Court of Judicature, little only me, with no formal training in law, but armed with just intelligence and perseverance was able to show that Attorneys ‘don’t know it all’. In fact they don’t know a damn great deal.
Ironically, Omari Drakes of Clarke Gittens and Farmer, a prominent Law firm, was trashed, after he arrogantly stated that my matter was ‘statute bared’ and even blocked me from being able to serve on the absentee owner and 3rd Defendant. Mr Smith of Smith & Smith Law firm [4th Respondents] also tried to dissuade me with the very rhetoric. Yet, the Judge struck out the case after asking Mr Drakes what was his response to my showing proof and instances [from the Limitation Act, Part III] that it was not. Mr Drakes said that I did not plead my case – his lamb in the bush. This is hilarious. BCC in their defense to my claim said my case was prolix. “What a mighty web we weave as we try to deceive”.
Yet, Mr Drakes has refused to prepare the order [issued since August 2020] so that I can proceed to have the decision appealed or pay him the ‘blood money’/cost and move with a new Claim and Statement of Claim. What are they afraid of; the doer and enabler?
Fabian Walthrus, too, bragged that he was an Insurance Agent for 15 years and was adamant that the matter at hand was governed by the Insurance Act which as of 1997, prevents litigation against a ‘named beneficiary’. This was the position of dozens of Attorneys from 2005 to 2015 when I got ‘mad’ and decided to handle my matters myself; inflaming the nobility.
Fabian Walthrus, like many others, could not read and understand that the substantive entity was a Group Pension Plan [from CBC] – tricked into paying out the benefits to someone the Plan does not cater for. Further, even if it were an Insurance Plan, Fabian Walters, Dawn Grant and dozens more could not decipher that the substantive entity was executed before 1997 and therefore that law doesn’t affect this Policy. What do we have going for us (representation), Mr Blogmaster?
Here again, the matter was struck out on the ground that ‘Letters of Administration had expired’. Fabian Walthrus too is still to prepare the order so that I can file to appeal or pay the ‘vex money’ in cost and proceed with filing a new, robust claim.
Mr Blogmaster, Justice must not only be served but must appear to have been served. You tell me. What is happening here in these instances? This once noble profession now seems to be in the throes of prostitution. Far too many attorneys are taking money and defending indefensible cases or bending the law and in so doing breaching the law. Far too many Attorneys are being fingered for other illegal activities [land theft, misappropriating client’s money, etc]. We seriously have a crisis with a lot of these attorneys.
Concern has been perennially expressed about the distress members of the legal fraternity visit on the lives of citizens of Barbados. Although the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) and the Disciplinary Committee have grounding in law to discipline the profession, there is little evidence lawyers who run afoul of the laws are satisfactorily sanctioned.
We are a nation of laws enacted to protect the rights of citizens from those willing to abuse said laws. It therefore goes without saying we need lawyers to represent us to ensure equity based system design. What we need to get right is to implement a framework where actors in the legal system can be held accountable.
The following paints another sad tale of a man, WREN HERBERT, from West Terrace who took advantage of a situation and to date despite the best effort of the person abused (AV), WREN HERBERT has gone unpunished. This is despite communications to the BBA. From the blogmaster’s research Wren Herbert appears not to be a practicing attorney at this time, he was. He is the brother of the infamous Caroline Herbert.
Unethical and Dishonest Conduct-Wren Herbert Attorney-at-Law
I am aware that nothing will result from the following which I am outlining, concerning Wren Herbert. However, for the record, I still wish to detail an issue of integrity which should remain extremely concerning for any country when significant numbers of its lawyers fail to act with integrity and trustworthiness. These lawyers elude accountability because of the structures which fail to recognize that it is essential and important for lawyers to be honest and behave lawfully.
It is possible that Wren Herbert may already have been removed from the Bar Association. I was unable to gain information on this because it is extremely painful on soliciting information from any governmental or official body in Barbados when overseas, even emails go unanswered; one encounters a ‘brick wall experience.’
This ‘brick wall’ is all constructed on the basis of, the ‘judging’ of the individual who is seeking the information; drawing conclusions about the individual’s perceived circumstances and actions, a very ‘subjective’ stance is adopted. This ‘judging’ is then evident in non-responses or lack of desired actions from the governmental body the information is being solicited from. Rather than acting as a professional public body should, the actions of governmental and public bodies’ non-responding and non-action, are personally rooted and can inadvertently support the unlawful conduct of lawyers, totally concealing their actions or lack thereof.
Concomitant to this, the country’s development in terms of justice, is hindered and in the eyes of the world, it comes to be seen as corrupt; all engineered by systems that are links in the chain which strengthen unfair and underhanded practices by lawyers.
Outline of Issue
On emigrating from Barbados, I left as a vulnerable, broken divorcee in search of a new life. I had a NEW Green Toyota Tercel, acquired through a vehicle loan from a Government Ministry. The vehicle was just under one year old.
As a lawyer, and a named friend, I asked Wren Herbert to act on my behalf, to return the vehicle to the Ministry as when I left, I was unsure as to whether I would indeed stay in the new position which I was offered; hence not returning it immediately upon my departure, in the event, that I returned.
When I was confident that I was not returning, less than a month later, Wren Herbert stated that rather than return the vehicle, that he wanted to acquire it and he would therefore take possession of the vehicle and repay the outstanding loan amount to the Ministry.
Wren Herbert, did indeed collect the car from my then home.
A friend, who was staying there at the time, handed Wren Herbert the keys and all the particulars of the vehicle and its loan documentation; undoubtedly, Wren Herbert took the car and rang me to confirm that he did have the vehicle.
The witness is willing to provide a statement to verify that Wren Herbert did indeed take the vehicle from my home and many people, I am sure would have seen him with the green Toyota Tercel, car.
Subsequently, I made several attempts to ascertain the status of Wren Herbert’s undertaking i.e., payments to the Ministry; no response ever came back to me from the Ministry, I was being ignored. Overseas telephone calls were a waste of time and money as I was put on hold, disconnected, passed to unhelpful individuals and overall I was placed on a GNVQ course of, ‘going nowhere very quickly.’
I sought confirmation from Wren Herbert and indeed several more times from the Ministry of Education but got no response from either party. This went on for some time, until I finally gave up since although I felt uneasy about the situation, I still did not believe that as a lawyer who was then working for the Hewitt Law firm, that he would be that dishonest.
During 2021, and as it is the entitlement of the governmental bodies in Barbados to disregard enquiries, after an entire year of battling to receive my Barbados work pension, I was forced to enlist the services of a solicitor to secure responses to my requests for information on my pension application from the Ministry concerned. I was told that some people have to wait years not just one year; is this what is to be expected and accepted?
However, after this year long battle and scars of paying a solicitor to indeed receive my pension from the Barbados Ministry, I was startled to learn that on receipt of my pension award from the Barbados government, that Wren Herbert had kept the vehicle or sold it and had NOT repaid the vehicle loan; therefore, the outstanding amount had been taken from my retirement pension.
That outstanding amount which has been taken is $29,166.62, which Wren Herbert owes to me; this clearly is not the way a lawyer should act.
I engaged a Barbados Law firm which has written to Wren Herbert in respect to this and Wren Herbert has ignored the correspondence but I shall not give in.
Summary • Finally, as stated in the above description of this issue, public office holders and other official bodies in Barbados, more often than not, fail to respond to any issues or complaints; this supports the unscrupulous lawyers.
• Throughout this scenario, judging people and situations, cause public office holders to renege on carrying out their duties effectively i.e., never responding to letters or calls concerning providing information which you are entitled to.
• Consequently, situations escalate unnecessarily, victims are further damaged and lawyer misconduct grows, casting a dark shadow on the overall ethical position of the country.
• I should like to mention that Dale Marshall did respond to my letter, stating that this was more a ‘personal matter;’ I however beg to differ.
• As a lawyer, Wren Herbert cannot separate his personal ethics or lack thereof, from his professional ethics and conduct.
• Wren Herbert was acting professionally when he undertook the agreement to either return the vehicle or repay the loan.
• Who else has been damaged by Wren Herbert as lawyer?
I pledged allegiance to Barbados since the pledge was established in the 1970s. As a child, the pledge was simply words to be recited on command. As an adult, I accepted the responsibilities associated with that solemn pledge.
To uphold Barbados’ honour, I tried to: do what was right, bring light where there was darkness, and provide evidence-based correction where there appeared to be error. To do otherwise would bring Barbados dishonour. To defend Barbados’ honour, I challenged the practise of achieving lucrative ends through dishonest means.
IGNORING THE ENGINEER.
I have also tried to be a credit to Barbados, rather than a dependent burden, by excelling at something. I pursued Structural Engineering. Then I kept adding to my pursuits. One of my engineering roles is to design structures, and then inspect their construction to certify that they are being built as they were designed.
When a building is not being built as it was designed, I would inform the builder and be met with one of two responses. One would be the builder correcting the deficiency. The other would be the builder ignoring me.
BUILDING ON A BAD FOUNDATION.
I have found that builders tend to ignore an Engineer’s instructions, because they think that they have a special relationship with the Engineer’s clients. A builder may have been selected as a reward for political support, and then had the misfortune of having me approve his work. How the builder got the job was not my concern. How he did the job was.
A builder may construct a substandard foundation, and ignore my instruction that it is defective and needs to be corrected. The contractor may proceed to build on the bad foundation, and ignore my notice that I will neither certify for payment the foundation, nor anything built on that foundation.
ALWAYS A RECKONING.
A builder may convince my Client to pay him, and he may finish the project on time. The Minister may have an entertaining opening ceremony, and unveil an attractive plaque. I would always attend if invited, and would normally enjoy the ceremony.
There is always a reckoning. Defective foundations normally lead to the building settling, resulting in cracks in the walls. An audit may be done to apportion blame. I have never attracted any blame in my 30-year career – because I do not approve defective work.
I believe that Parliament has built a fantasy republic on a defective and unlawful foundation. I wrote an open letter to all members of Parliament to discuss the glaring deficiencies, but the Prime Minister advised those with such concerns to have them addressed in Barbados’ Courts. So I did.
The question of whether Parliament’s republic is lawful or not is now before the Barbados Court of Appeal. I have been strongly advised, and even threatened, to drop it by those who have pledged allegiance, not to Barbados, but to their political parties. It is too late. I cannot drop it. I have already pledged allegiance to Barbados, and I do not pledge carelessly.
Regardless of how the Appeal Court judges rule, it can only benefit Barbados. We will either move forward with the confidence of knowing that Parliament’s new constitution is lawful, or we will have the opportunity to correct any deficiencies that the Court finds. Either way, Barbados wins.
The blogmaster understands the matter Everton Cumberbatch versus Larry Tatem, Leroy Parris and Johnny Cheltenham is finally set down to be heard on January 26-27, 2022 in the Barbados Courts. For those who have not read the previous blogs – see links below – this matter was filed in May 2008. Let that sink in!
Although former President of the Senate Johnny Cheltenham whose brother is the Chief Justice was removed from the list of defendants, a matter is pending with the Disciplinary Committees to determine his involvement in the case and if it warrants him being sanctioned and handed to the Court of Appeal for review. The blogmaster understands Cheltenham’s lawyer, one Alrick Scott, attempted to broker a deal to have a document signed that would have shielded Cheltenham in the pending matter. O what a tangle web we weave when we practice to deceive.
One must ask why this matter was permitted to bounce around judges chambers with Justice Sonia Richards the only one to give attention to the matter. One presumes Justice Cornelius would not have had the appetite because it is known she and husband Ralph were privileged to have attended Cheltenham’s wedding in Miami a few years ago and presumed to be friends.
The blogmaster along with interested onlookers await the oral hearing come January next year AND the outcome of the Disciplinary Committee hearing. In Barbados it is known that justice is often delayed and delivered at the slowest pace BUT ultimately a judgement has to come if the persecuted perseveres.
Previous blogs on the matter of Everton Cumberbatch versus Larry Tatem, Leroy Parris and Johnny Cheltenham.
In two separate court hearings, these two iconic institutions said a lot about themselves. It explains where and why they are where they are in the scheme of progressiveness.
BCC – The Chair, no less than Velma Newton, Attorney-at-Law (I am told), advised the Court (through the Deputy Chair, Ms Denny) that the Hand-Book is not contractual. After six years of attempts at Mediation to make them ‘see the light’ BCC, through its Chair mounted a defense of using wrong form and no form (of some kind). That is all well and good. So what happens when the corrections are made?
A blunt refusal to read their Hand Book and learn. A blunt refusal to come to Mediation when they are as wrong as the sun setting in the east. What began as only a Breach of Contract has morphed into a Breach of Consumer Guarantees including false advertising. Of course, you’d only know this if you compare them to other colleges. BCC was not and I believe are still not accredited so they have programs that do not meet the basic requirements for Associate Degree level, they advertise one thing and offer another, they rob students the choice of electives in some programs, tamper with Transcripts/Records, issue Records with calculated errors and the list goes on. This matter has gone to appeal, or at least I filed something of the sort.
What 21st century Leader or Leader at all would expose their organization to such degradation and public scorn and ridicule?
CBC – Goodness, gracious. As Trustees of an entity as important as Employees Pensions Fund, CBC and its cohort ICB (back then) do not understand the workings of the Group Pensions Plan they are managing. They don’t know that Pensions is not Insurance. In fact, no one seemed to understand that minute peculiarity, but me and the young lady, the Pensions and Insurance Manager, at the Financial Services Commission.
Nevertheless, FSC’s Management and CBC’s Management are refusing to honour the Rights to Information Act and give a copy of the Master Plan for CBC/ICB Group Pensions Plan. Constitutional Rape! ICBL Attorney-at-Law advised, proudly, that as far as she knows a Named Beneficiary on ‘an Insurance” policy cannot be challenged. It would seem that this rubric she is using was from time memorial. That Law went into effect in 1997. But notice, I said Pensions. Nevertheless, this matter was heard and dispensed with since December 2020 but to date no Order is forthcoming.
Why? I shall appeal. Also, they don’t want to acknowledge that ‘likkle me’ understood the ICB Handbook and the Pension Scheme.
An appeal means Cost to the Defendant.
There would have been no Defendant if CBC’s GM and HRM at the time, knew what they were doing with the company’s Pension money.
That being said, here is why they won’t optimize to becoming global institutions. They lack structure and integrity. Perhaps vision too. That is because they are the Public Service operating in an island State aka Banana Republics.
In Arabia, a young Republic, UAE, is marching forward towards global status. The government is positioning its country and people at a national level through training. Every agency and institution is being positioned to take that country to its global capacity. Not just those in the monarchy but ALL. Intentions! Global Government Summit.
Responsible Leadership for Infinite Success – Simon Sinek – Full Session – WGS 2019 – you have to listen to the end to the Question and Answer section.
“Are we there yet?”
Do we even understand what ‘Responsible Leadership’ is?
There are no Leaders among these ‘ears of corn’. We have people taking taxpayers’ dollars in monthly installments. Rather than make good just decisions across the board, for the most part, the Public Service, first, is a dump for Party Poopers (square pegs in round holes) then wimps who merely do party biddings. We Banana Republics cannot and will not optimize with these attitudes. It would have been better for these institutions to learn from their errors and develop and progress but not even a slap on their wrists. So CBC continues as it always has, at a loss and ‘lost’ and BCC, dysfunctional as ever, perhaps is still offering and executing barren programs. You’d only know this if you had reason to compare it to a ‘real’, functional college.
But Velma engaged Pat Cheltenhan’s firm for the first round and will for the second, perhaps. Who is paying? The devil is in the details. I learned from one of the very errant Attorneys in another one of my cases that what the Judge assesses as Cost is not all that the Attorney’s fees is. Who is paying all of that?
At the end of all of this, BCC has to conform to a proper structure and delivery of its programs. Whether so that I benefit or just because the Accreditation Body demands.
But at what cost to taxpayers?
Not to mention that their inefficiencies are now a matter of public record.
In a Sunday Nation Article of 2020 – Next Friend not happy her case is thrown out – I reported some anomalies in an elder abuse case in the High Court in Barbados particularly the difficulty in getting the relevant agencies to respond.
First of all, I initiated that article in a social media group intending to do my independent reporting because I was long disillusioned with the negative slant of the Nation Newspapers’ reporting. I was, however, contacted by the Nation Report-Or about it since it was shared with her by a colleague involved in elder abuse also. I sent my typed article via email.
I never stated that I was the Next Friend. I couldn’t have since I am no blood relative of the elder. That’s the hasty conclusion the Report -OR or her Edit-OR who jumped to in an effort to sensationalize a serious issue and increase sales. They only know one thing.
Having merely scanned my complaint then listened to Lashley’s diatribe, the Report-OR went to press without further investigations. Had she gotten off of her hefty laurels and visited the Registry and read the file and made a sound analysis of the legal case and the outcome such nonsense would not have been sold to the Barbados public.
Further, she would have had on record that Lashley was not the Attorney who represented the family in the case and instead would have gone and gotten comments from the representing Attorney. She would also have had even a copy of that first Order that was made and signed by the Judge.
Too often, Nation Reporters are printing lopsided and ridiculously subjective opinions on matters that should be given more serious attention and scholarship. Elder abuse is not your daily Soap Opera.
So one year later this issue has arisen in another country in the Region and the Nation Newspapers and its Report-OR is being held to scrutiny. How different is the legal outcome versus that rubbish?
So my assignment for the Report-Or is to visit the Registry, get the file and write a propper article on the outcome of that elder abuse case that was treated under the Mental Health Act. Find out what because of the Order the judge made and signed.
My post to BU on July 19, 2020 – Stephen Lashley – He Lie! and on December 18 – Cynthia Forde Do Your Job! – referred to case 397 of 2020 in which Madam Justice Shona Griffith made and signed an Order not drawn and prepared by Stephen Lashley but by another Attorney. The reason being Lashley passed the matter over to avoid adhering to the transparency the Judge requested i.e. being the elder has another child from a previous union and the Claimant (and her brother) are not his only children and really she really should not have been given receivership without that offspring being consulted and refusing to be a party.
Now, this case is trending in Guyana and for quick access, I requested a copy of the Order from the Registry, low and behold, Lashley has prepared another Copy of the Order with his name in the Legend and had it signed by the Deputy Registrar (ag) and filed on October 2, 2020.
My enquiry into the first Order was given the unadulterated response that when a new Order is made the previous is destroyed and the latter forms the records. There was no new Order since there was no new evidence nor did Lashley sit before the Judge and presented a case on behalf of the Claimants. It is the same Order represented by Lashley to another Officer for signature.
Why didn’t Lashley return to the presiding Judge to sign the copy of the same Order?
What is happening in the Judiciary? I paid for and have a copy of that first order which was signed by the Judge.
Where is the Registry’s copy of that first Order and why Lashley found it necessary to make this change to the Legend and the Court’s records?
The judgement handed down by the Court of Appeal in the matter No:108 of 2008 (attached) is compelling reading, all 67 pages. In summary, John Patrick Connor and his wife (vendors) retained Philip Vernon Nicholls (lawyer) to facilitate the sale of a property, purchase price $950,000. The proceeds of the sale were never paid to the Connors now deceased. The judgement exposes a litany of woes and vindicates Barbados Underground on several issues raised- see updates on BU’s Tales from the Courtspage.
In brief the report prepared by the Disciplinary Report to support request Attorney-at-Law Philip Vernon Nicholls be removed from the roll of lawyers practising in Barbados was dismissed because of ‘procedural irregularities’. Here is Justice of Appeal Rajendra Narine (p.43) scathing dissenting opinion.
It is unfortunate to witness another case of an oversight body (Disciplinary Committee) established by statute to protect the interest of the public from lawyers who engage in unprofessional conduct not met.
A resource link:
The Disciplinary Committee is created pursuant to the Legal Professions Act Cap 370A and is “charged with the duty of upholding standards of professional conduct”. The Committee is charged with making rules in relation to the standards of professional etiquette and conduct of attorneys. It comprises seven attorneys, of whom at least three shall be of not less than ten years’ standing in the legal profession, nominated by the Bar Association. Each member shall hold tenure for a period not exceeding two years but each member is eligible for renomination.
The arrest of George Bennett, a former high ranking member of the Police Drug Squad now a practising lawyer once again confirms the whispers and rum shop talk. Although the traditional media delights in emblazoning the mugs of ‘little black boys’ on the front and court pages caught pushing drugs, commonsense supports a view that prominent, respected citizens are important links in the supply and distribution chain.
George Bennett is charged with possession, trafficking and intent to supply 253 kilograms of cannabis with a street value of 2 million, he appeared in the number 4 Supreme Court this week to apply for bail. Despite the bench strength of Bennett’s defence team which consisted of Andrew Pilgrim QC and Arthur Holder, bail was denied.
The blogmaster gives weight to the charge brought by the Royal Barbados Police Force considering the contraband was reportedly found at Bennett’s residence. His lawyers must be working overtime to discover a ‘technicality’ to earn a favourable ruling. Bennett’s relationship with the drug world probably started when he was a policeman and greed forced him to take the wrong path. The blogmaster is sure Bennett represents the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Then again there is the presumption of innocence, stop it!
The police force continues to report crime levels down although there is growing concern about the high murder rate in recent years. The truth is- in a small society a qualitative assessment must carry greater value compared to data driven conclusions. Thirteen murders for the year in tiny Barbados will impact the quality of our society more than if it were a bigger country. The level of lawlessness being witnessed in Barbados is symptomatic of a bigger problem of which members of law enforcement AND officers of the court are inextricably a part. The time has long passed to arrest the rot.
For every Bennett there are a few more to be found in Customs Department, Police Force, Immigration Department – you get the drift. To be fair to Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, he has mentioned repeatedly concerns about the quality of policing at ports of entry. We are fighting against wickedness in high places.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against a spiritual wickedness in high places.
Ephesians 6:12 KJV
The blogmaster hesitates to recommend a Rodrigo Duterte approach to arresting crime in Barbados, our docile disposition as a people and fit and proper system of governance would not permit it. However, a radical approach is always the preferred option if material change is the objective. Based on what is before us i.e. a former high ranking policeman now lawyer found with 253 kilos of cannabis at his home should be enough to support a conclusion the good guys are the bad guys.
It is important the process to recruit the next Commissioner of police to replace an invisible Tyrone Griffith is judiciously processed. The unfortunate predicament Barbados finds itself stems from the fact our decision makers are part of the problem.
According to its website the BLACKSTONE Law Firm was established in 2011 and is headed by Joseph Serrant located at Strathclyde Drive, Bridgetown, Barbados. Further, the law firm advertises the expertise to represent in areas of:
Property Law (conveyancing & mortgages)
Law of Succession
Incorporation of Businesses
The blogmaster writes on behalf of a concerned citizen who continues to be frustrated by the aforementioned law firm in the matter of the Estate of Ronald Griffith. Since 2013 the family of the late Ronald Griffith – represented by the Blackstone Law Firm – has been unsuccessful in processing an application of Letters of Administration with the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The blogmaster has reviewed communications between the daughter of the late Ronald Griffith and various lawyers acting on behalf of Blackstone Law Firm, including its head Joseph Serrant. For eight (8) years what was anticipated to be routine transaction has morphed to a frustrating experience for the family.
The communications the blogmaster has seen identifie the main reason for the delay as the Law Firm moving from Bridgetown to Strathclyde in 2017. Since 2013 various communications made available to Barbados Underground between family members and Blackstone Law Firm were signed by head of the law firm Joseph Serrant. Have a look at the Meet Our Experts team featured on the Blackstone Law Firm website.
The blogmaster always regrets when clients of lawyers are forced to seek remedy by sharing private matters with the public. It is obvious if we are to judge from the number of similar complaints in the public domain, a system meant to dispense timely justice continues to earn the labels of being supine and moribund. That officers of the court can be so brazen to take advantage of the public without fear of being censured is an indictment of the quality of oversight, moral and ethical fibre of our legal profession. The matter was reported to the Barbados Bar Association, no surprise.
This is a first appeal to Joseph Serrant, head of the Blackstone Law Firm to hand over the file and monies paid to date by the family of the late Ronald Griffith to allow the family to retrieve a dignified closure to the matter.
In an earlier blog – Customer Versus Carmax the plight of an ordinary Barbadian whose only crime was to purchase a vehicle from CarMax located on Hastings Main Road in Christ Church has resulted in a tale of woe.
A simple summary: in 2014 the Barbadian purchased a pre owned Kia Sportage 2000 cc diesel 4WD Engine# D4EA5H112253. Within the first year of purchase the vehicle had begun to ‘hard start’ and overheat. Despite changing air, oil, diesel filters, radiator, thermostat and hose, as well as all parts recommended by a mechanic the problems persisted. After an exhaustive process the mechanic discovered that the engine D4EA9H903688 mounted in the vehicle conflicted with the number on the sale contract, invoice, insurance, and road tax.
To make a long story short CarMax has refused to accept responsible for misrepresenting the sale of the vehicle to this ordinary Barbadian pensioner. The argument being used by CarMax is the vehicle was not serviced by MQI Garage in the post sales period. General Manager of CarMax, Gordon Spencer acknowledged by email on May 10, 2021 that the substitute engine was installed in 2009 for a previous owner.
The blogmaster is of the view CarMax misrepresented the product sold to the Barbadian and should make all reasonable effort to remedy.
A few weeks ago Chief Justice Patterson Cheltenham revealed that after a ‘dig’ 70 matters were discovered lying idle in the court system. In other words, some lawyers are filing a notice of appeal and leaving the matter in abeyance without active follow up to activate the matter therefore adding to the burgeoning case load. When the matter is called by the Court of Appeal, according to the Chief Justice, the lawyer filing the notice is sometimes a no show and in many cases fail to also apprise lawyers representing the respondents.
Barbados Underground has been a strident voice over the years in the call for the Barbados court system to get its act together in order to deliver on the maxim – “justice delayed is justice denied”. Chief Justice Patterson Cheltenham was appointed from being active as a lawyer and should be aware of the gaming methods lawyers co-opt to frustrate the system. It is disappointing after all the years of criticism Cheltenham’s predecessors were unaware of the unethical practice by lawyers – legal officers of the Court – to file ‘empty’ notices of appeal.
Do we need to remind lawyers in Barbados that as legal officers of the Barbados Court they are saddled with the awesome responsibility of delivering quality justice? The inability of the court system to dispense justice has obvious implications for the quality of life in the society. To have to listen to the Attorney General and his predecessors express frustration with a court system about to crash under its weight is an embarrassment.
Kudos to the Chief Justice for identifying an issue to be solved. As usual what was left hanging is how lawyers engaged in depositing empty ‘matters’ in the court system will be disciplined. These lawyers are being dishonest and unethical in behaviour and should have to suffer disciplinary action. A part of the problem with rising crime and lawlessness in Barbados is the slow pace justice is administered, it also has implications for the international business sector to ensure speedy resolution to matters.
The blogmaster is aware the government has allocated monies to install additional judges. What good will come of it if key stakeholders in the system; lawyers deliberately frustrate efficiency by the court by clogging up the system with nuisance matters, are no shows, missing files at the Registry etc? It begs the question what motivates the behaviour. The blogmaster believes some lawyers see financial reward operating in an inefficient court system.
Barbadians at home and in the diaspora have reached the limit of understanding why year after year we have been unable to improve the justice system. A bit of advice to the government, Attorney General, Chief Justice, Registrar of the Court, Barbados Bar Association, Disciplinary Committee, lawyers, police – time to start adhering to the highest ethical standards you have sworn to uphold on behalf of the clients who PAY YOU. If we do not we ALL will have to live in the type of society that evolves.
Last week, I described the Leader of the Opposition’s irresponsible actions that unnecessarily delayed the Court case, and the Judge’s rejection of his adjournment request. I will now report the Attorney General’s main arguments.
The Attorney General offered two main arguments. The first was that the Leader of the Opposition’s appointment was not of sufficient public interest. Therefore, it should not warrant the court’s attention. That argument was rejected.
The second was that the Governor General’s appointment of Mr Atherley cannot be enquired into by the Court. It is the second argument that should concern us all, and is the subject of this article.
The Attorney General based his argument on the assumption that the Governor-General’s appointment is protected by section 32 (5) of the Constitution of Barbados. I responded that this assumption should be verified. Section 32 (5) of the Constitution of Barbados follows.
32 (5) Where the Governor-General is directed to exercise any function in accordance with the recommendation or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority, the question whether he has so exercised that function shall not be enquired into in any court.
I argued that this section is irrelevant to the appointment of Mr Atherley, since the Governor General did not need to consult, etc, with anyone in performing that appointment function. Section 32 (1) of the Constitution of Barbados explains two categories of Governor-General functions.
32. (1) The Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet in the exercise of his functions other than –
a. any function which is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him on or in accordance with the recommendations or advice of, or with the concurrence of, or after consultation with, any person or authority other than the Cabinet; and
b. any function which is expressed (in whatever terms) to be exercisable by him in his discretion.
I argued that it was the latter function (Section 32 (1) (b)) to which the appointment of a Leader of the Opposition belonged. Therefore, the appointment may be enquired into by a court.
The Attorney General also argued that other jurisdictions gave persons prerogative powers, that were not subject to judicial review. I argued that the Constitution of Barbados, section 1, states the following.
“This Constitution is the supreme law of Barbados and, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and the other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
Therefore, if other jurisdictions chose to give specific persons prerogative powers, that conflict with the Constitution of Barbados, then the Constitution of Barbados should prevail in Barbados.
Further, the Constitution appears to give the Governor-General prerogative powers, only when she makes decisions in consultation with other parties, in accordance with section 32. (1) (a). I argued that those prerogative powers do not extend into appointments where the Governor-General exercises her sole discretion or judgement, in accordance with section 32. (1) (b).
The Attorney General and I agreed that the Governor-General was obliged to act in accordance with section 75 (2) of the Constitution. Where we diverged, is that the Attorney General ignored the fundamental prerequisite for the office, which Mr Atherley evidently did not have. Namely, the support of other members of the House of Assembly. Even the Judge appeared to acknowledge that fact.
The Attorney General argued that since the Governor General made the appointment, then that alone proved that Mr Atherley met the qualification. The Attorney General essentially argued that it was impossible for the Governor General to make a mistake – she is infallible. I explained the absurdity of that Constitution violating argument.
THE PARTY’S INTERESTS.
The Barbadian press continues to promote the provable fake news that the case was dismissed (it was not), rather than report the extraordinary arguments made during the case – which are easily available to them. Perhaps it has time to ask why.
Jesus stated that we cannot serve two masters. The Barbadian press must decide whether they will pursue truth – or the propaganda interests of their political party.
The feud between the Knox and Deane families spans decades. Several of the protagonists et al have crossed have shuffled off this mortal coil. The one good the matter has presented is to give the Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) another opportunity to ridicule the supine nature of our justice system.
May this matter rest.
Media Release – CCJ Dismisses Appeal of the Estate of Marjorie Ilma Knox; Calls Delay Unacceptable
29 Apr 2021
In a judgment released today, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) dismissed the appeal of the Estate of Marjorie Ilma Knox in the matter of the Estate of Marjorie Ilma Knox v John Vere Evelyn Deane and others  CCJ (AJ). However, the CCJ criticised the unacceptable and serious delay of the Court of Appeal of Barbados in delivering its judgment. The CCJ heard the appeal on 16 March 2021.
What is the DLP doing with its bevy of lawyers who are members? What is the DLP doing with its army of lawyers in the ranks?
I might pose in a similar rhetorical manner, “What are the GoB lawyers doing re the ICBL affair”? While the actionable answer is nothing, they are all vested members of the Club. It is against Club rules to bring any such action, though speaking out is permitted once an election has been called. The Senator, given his refusal to enter the electable fray, is not a full member. He has visitor privilege. It is understood any form of negative or challenging objection is good for the Club, it gives non-members the distinct impression there are opposing forces within the Club.
BU Commenter – NorthernObserver
The two questions posted by the blogmaster to Prime Minister, Caswell is no Lawyer but … submission were in response to a commenter who lauded Senator Caswell Franklyn for taking the government to court by challenging the legality of the Emergency Management (Amendment) Act 2020. NorthernObserver (another commenter) chimed in to remind readers there is a way business is done by the Club in Barbados sometimes referred to as the political class.
The blogmaster extends best wishes to Senator Caswell Franklyn who has been the most strident dissenting voice in Barbados in recent years. It shows what is possible if the objective of citizens is to unswervingly and selflessly serve the public. What cannot be refuted: Senator Franklyn has single-handedly eclipsed the meek voices of traditional political parties including the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The irony, he has expressed no interest in formally presenting himself to the Lower House.
In a post-2018 general election period a relevant dissenting voice is critical to safeguard the interest of the people in the type of democracy practiced. Long before the Mia Mottley led Barbados Labour Party won the 2018 general election 30 zip, there was heightened concern expressed in this space and elsewhere the suffocating influence the Club; duopoly, political class has been exerting on the social and economic landscape of Barbados. We need more citizens of Caswell’s ilk to commit to public service. For our democracy to be fit for purpose this blogmaster posits it the inherent responsibility of enlightened citizens to fully participate.
It has not gone unnoticed former minister in the last Cabinet Michael Lashley has busied himself with earning fees challenging the legitimacy of the Minister of Health under the Emergency Management Act being named as the informant in charges brought by the Covid Unit. This is also laudable but with a caveat. A big contributor to the sloth and inefficiency how justice is dispensed and business facilitation is organized in Barbados can be tracked to the legal profession. The legal profession given its heavy involvement in the administration of government and wider society must be forced to reinvent itself in the interest of the people and country.
Some will regard Senator Franklyn’s legal challenge as nettlesome. Some will say it is necessary to ensure process to support the model of democracy practised is respected and protected.
Democracy’s a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it’s no longer democracy, is it? It’s something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.
The following submitted by social commentator and environmental activist Kammie Holder – with the message “computer misuse as interpreted by Judge Birch” – Blogmaster
In previous years, the use of words and images to inflict damage, create menace or discomfort to others lay in the province of defamation, whether criminal or otherwise. Such cases were relatively few in number and occurred with remarkable infrequency, although it must be said that many potentially defamatory actions tended to end in a quiet settlement and an apology posted far from the front pages where much of the libel and slander began.
With the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s, the instance of computer misuse arose very slowly, largely due to the lack of computers and connectivity for the general public in those early years. The increasing sophistication and lowering of cost allowed the connectivity of computer users to increase exponentially in obedience to Moore’s Law1, which posits that computers double in power and capacity and halve in price approximately every 18 months.
Naturally, this led to the increase in sharing of ideas and knowledge at an astounding rate. However, this also led to the dissemination of defamatory images and text in a manner that penetrated the human consciousness in a manner not seen since the creation of the printing press 300 years before. Messages that once had to rely on print and television to be shared now began to move at light speed to computers. The muttering crank in the basement and the conspiracy theorist now had the means to lie, spread the lie, and yet cower in anonymity behind the keyboard.
Re Inniss, a reasonable person might acquaint himself with any relevant rules of engagement. Such rules will inevitably vary from jurisdiction (e.g Barbados) to jurisdiction (e.g Florida or New York). But, familiarity with them can be instructive if not edifying. It can even save the inattentive and the unwary aggravation in terms of time, money, emotional anxiety and even personal liberty.
Donville’s case is important, not only because it represents a stunning reversal of fortune, a reckoning for him personally, as well as any possible harm to Barbados and its image abroad.
It is also important to Caribbean politicians as a whole, not just those a previous P.M described as a bunch of “wild boys”, or those who would kill and feast on “the fatted calf”. (Some may recall that the U.S once sought the extradition of a certain Sir. Lynden Pindling – the Bahamas – to face trial In the U.S. Mr. Bouterse’s – Suriname – problems may also come to mind. Others routinely excoriate Dr. Gonsalves – St. Vincent – in this blog).
But, certainly everyone knows that the U.S, despite the fact that it has only 4% to 5% of the world’s population, leads the world in terms of the number of prisoners with some 2.3 million incarcerated (25 %). In Barbadian vernacular this is a sort oBig “Dodds”.
(See -incomplete – List of American federal politicians convicted of crimes – Wikipedia
The late Judge John Sirica, a Watergate Judge, was remembered as having said that if a jury had voted to convict President Nixon, he (Sirica) would have sent him to jail. The Reader will therefore understand why President Ford hastily pardoned Nixon.
Even as of the time of this writing, there are at least a few Prosecutors (e.g James, Vance, Racine et al) patiently waiting in plain view to rendezvous with Trump just after high noon come January 20, 2021. He (Trump) is well aware of this fact. Hence all the increased chatter about pardons for his henchmen, political supporters, family and friends, and even pardoning himself).
(See: NY Prosecutor Hires Forensic Accountants as Criminal Investigation Into Trump Organization Escalates
Re Inniss’s prospects, a lawyer once related to me how he had had a case before the Eastern District Court of New York (E.D.N.Y). An elderly West Indian client passed. Her Executor, following certain stereotypes, retained NY counsel to settle the Estate. A problem arose when NY counsel sold a brown stone building and simply forgot to pay the proceeds to the Estate. (As an aside, it is gratifying to read of the new Chief Justice, Cheltenham, cautioning new members of the Bar to refrain from borrowing their clients’ funds). Proceedings ensued thereafter.
The matter came before the E.D.N.Y Chief Judge, the late David Trager, Judge in the Crown Heights case where Lemrick Nelson was accused of murdering a Rabbinical student, Yankel Rosenbaum, presumably in retaliation for the murder of a black child, Gavin Cato.
My lawyer friend advised me that his matter only resolved after some intense legal skirmishing and the lawyer was persuaded to disgorge the proceeds. His impression was that the EDNY, at least in his opinion, constituted a hostile work environment.
Thus, Mr. Inniss, metaphorically, finds himself like a man with a glock cocked against his temple, as he sits in anticipation of sentencing scheduled for Jan 23, 2021(?).
Mr. Inniss apparently fired his trial counsel, for whatever reason(s). He may not have agreed with his lawyers. He may now pursue his right to appeal and draw out the process.
However, claims such as “ineffective assistance of counsel” have typically been rejected in the overwhelming majority of cases (1 in 5, according to some sources). Similarly, the Judge’s Jury Charge will most likely have followed standard instructions in similar such cases. It might even be argued that Inniss, the Former International Business Minister, did not have a jury of his peers. Yet, none of these arguments may prevail on appeal. Hopefully, Inniss, Tasker and/or any possible corruptocrat will emerge sadder, wiser and chastened, by experience.
The conviction of former Minister Donville Inniss in the United States of America an his upcoming sentencing has been smothered by news of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020. The matter blipped twice in the newsfeed this month when first it was reported Inniss fired his lawyer Anthony Ricco and replaced him with Joel Hirschhorn to challenge how he (Inniss) was represented in the matter heard by Judge Kiyo Matsumoto. Second, co-defendants INGRID INNES and ALEX TASKER are currently facing extradition requests from the USA to answer charges in the indictment (see link below).
The question observers continue to ask is why has the local authority not grasped the opportunity to pursue criminal action against local parties if there is agreement Barbados is the source of the charge of money laundering currently being pursued in a US court.
The other question the blogmaster has floated is to what extent the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) suffers collateral damage from the matter IF Inniss has to do jail time.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
My personal journey (5 years) through the labyrinth of the judiciary. Nine judges and a plethora of Attorneys, yet I was forced to take charge and plead my case myself.
When we hear the word law we think of order and justice and civility and fairness not so with the judiciary. On the contrary my experience is that this institution the Police and the Public Service is that the officials practice wanton lawlessness of a kind that is unimaginable. Contemptible, because no one manages the Judges (it seems), after they are appointed they act recklessly breaking much of the rules and in so doing disrespecting and disenfranchising the very people they are appointed to serve justice to.
First judge: included in her Order the directive for me to seek advice from an Attorney before the next date. She meant, retain the services of… She did not provide me with a Proforma Invoice so I wrote the CJ (and subsequently the AG) asking what that was all about. He forwarded the correspondence to the Judge. She convened a hearing and recused herself. BUT… she held on to the file for five months. All the asking and pleading to the Registry staff was to no avail. So I wrote her and gently reminded her that she had the file and it was needed in the Court Registry. Nothing until I began to bang and beat and whip. She released the file. FIVE months had elapsed. That’s the average time for a decision. This is the face of justice. Not to mention that it breaches my constitutional rights to a speedy outcome. Madam was quite assured that normally no one would dare approach her for the file so my case, like so many before (especially those handled by an Attorney) would have been left high and dry in her possession until the cows come home. This madam justice is not upholding her oath. That was a wicked act. Either Madam Justice was trying to hide her foul or was protecting BCC.
Judges are identifying errors n shortcomings in claims and presenting cases to support (ironically the represented) litigant. The Litigant’s Kit state that Litigants are supposed to ask for all they require in their Application for Orders and present all the authorities they intended to use to argue their position. Judges are only supposed to examine, access and weigh the information presented and bring a decision.That’s no justice. They’re making mock sport. There is no impartiality and whomever a judge fancies that’s who he will search for cases to assist.
Next judge: case adjourned on February 25th for a decision but she returns without the decision on March 3rd. Couldn’t find the file and I had to wait while she sent her Clerk some place to look for the file but the file was right there and I am waiting. Awed by the level of don’t care a damn inefficiency at such a high level. More submissions and the matter was again adjourned for decisions – no date. For those of you who might not know, decisions are due in three months and the CCJ sometime not so long ago decreed that the maximum time a judge should take was 6 months or off of the bench. Her parting words were xxxxx, I will call you. There was the lockdown for 10 weeks then that blanket was lifted. Yet as of September end there was no word and no decision. Six and out. This character too is full of wry comments and corny jokes. Not quite what you go to court for.
What the hell is going on?
The 2nd highest institution in the land and this open inefficiency and callousness for order and the rule of law and people’s rights permeates like what is to be a norm.
Next judge: Adjourned for decision on October 28 2019, and returned in January without the decision. No problem. Perhaps he needed more information. But alas that was not the case. Another adjournment to April 1. Then there was the lockdown. As of October end there was no decision. Again I had to be whipping and banging the drums to get these learned people moving. The judge above brought her decision but this naughty naughty judge still didn’t bring his. Only when I wrote the Commissioner to the RBPF on November 27, 2020 asking permission to stage a Rally to air my grievances with the judiciary did the Registry call and inform me on Tuesday December 1, 2020 that this 3rd recalcitrant will will deliver the decision on Wednesday December 2, 2020 at 9.15 am; less than 24 hours notice. Six and out!
Are we there yet? No. Far from it.
These officers are acting without impunity. There is no oversight of their behaviour. Once appointed they are there for life (?) and since the system is so broke they act like demi-gods. Effectually, they are godless and shameless. They don’t care …and no one seems to care about the ‘minions’ who bring cases to that institution expecting fairness and impartiality and swiftness of judgement. The very minions whose taxes it is that pay the judges’ salaries are who the judges exhibit scant regard for. No one cares about the quality of justice as in the length of time it takes to complete and deliver decisions. No one cares about how the delays affect the litigants. No one cares about the level of production output, or they don’t know of such concepts (in the public service). This is sick.
This cannot go on continuously. It is rancid. It is not that there are so many cases in the system it is, as per my experience, that the judges assume the posture of omnipotence; until someone comes along who whips and bangs ‘drums’. They are lazy and in some cases nasty (vindictive).
There must be a Commission convened to look into how long judges take to complete each case. Barbados cannot be serious about progress and development and encouraging people to come here from more advanced realms and the most important institution to protect them and process their business is the one raping them of their rights.
The Public Service now, BCC and CBC, (ICBL), FSC, FTC, CLA and Public Counsel and the Police all are running into one another and doing very little that is effective.
Public Counsel, a part of the Attorney General’s office, offers legal advice to persons who have disagreements of a commercial/Consumer nature and where the claims are equal to or valued below $10,000.
FTC provides representation for matters of a commercial nature too to those who do not want or cannot afford an Attorney. Community Legal Aid Services provide Attorneys to represent persons who cannot afford one.
BCC’s management does not know that their Handbook is forming a contract between them and the students. BCC breaks graduation requirements, their own rules and Consumer Guarantees (those rights accorded to consumers once entered into a relationship with a service provider).
CBC does not know (it seems ) that Pension is not Insurance. CBC is administering a pension plan and allowing persons who are not dependants to be named as Beneficiaries and broadcasting that a named beneficiary is final.
ICBL too, is adamant that a named beneficiary to a Pension Plan (a Revocable Trust) is final. Lawyers too are advising that a named beneficiary (to a Pension) is final -get this – because the Insurance Act of 1997 so states. Thus irrespective of the date the would-be insurance policy was effected no one pays attention to that minute detail and everyone says ipso facto. No one (outside of FSC) it seems, is aware that Pension is not Insurance and in fact has a dedicated Act: Occupational Pensions Benefits Act 350B. Twenty years arguing with Attorneys in Barbados until I kicked it, held the bull by the horn and faced the steam on my own. There are those Attorneys who try to defend indefensible cases. In 2020 we have an Attorney, two in fact, who prepared and argued a Pension Benefit aged 1994 with the Insurance Act which was effective as of 1997 (then pulls a time-trick). What goes? What is Cave Hill spitting out? What a scholastic shame.
After one year, FSC is unable/willing to provide information required as per the Rights to Information Act and the very Pension Benefit act. FSC is not supervising and investigating or training the agencies it is mandated to oversee effectively. Perhaps no one else ever understood Trusts and Pensions and challenged the anomalies. God forbid if there were other dependents not named and thus were robbed of their inheritances because the agencies charged with the administration and supervision of the same do not know their product and what they are doing.
While uncertainty currently rules the day, there are still people out there with vision and the fundamental belief that our tourism industry will not only recover, but flourish in times to come.
For most of us, despite having traded though all the previous challenges including 911, SARS and others, the Covid-19 pandemic has been what can only be described as an earth-shattering wake-up call, severely questioning how we do business in the months or years to come.
Our own position is a classic case in point, having recently sold our small hotel, which hopefully sends a tiny beacon of hope that some return to normality may be in sight. To pretend this prolonged sales process was easy would be grossly misleading. It has taken an extraordinary amount of patience, compromise and understanding on both sides.
Are there lessons to be learnt from our personal experience, that may help others in a similar situation or those considering investment in our tourism sector generally, whether at a micro or macro level?
I believe YES, in a number of ways.
The first stumbling blocks are clearly the banks. Most of us can fully understand their reticence to provide loans and the circumstances that has led to this current entrenched position. It is abundantly obvious the need to ‘shop-around’, as the levels of caution vary enormously, depending on either the policies of the individual bank or key decision making personalities involved.
As an aspiring entrepreneur spanning over five decades, if I had accumulated $10 for every financial official who told me that the banks are not in the risk business, probably retirement could have been achieved sometime ago.
People of my generation saw the changes coming a long time ago. For me, it was when one of Britain’s largest banks, Barclays, took the decision to retire all their branch managers aged over 50 years. It seemed to defy any obvious logic.
At 50, or close to that age, the individual manager has acquired an invaluable local knowledge of the area his or her branch was located, the business movers and shakers, their track record and probable ability to repay any loans.
It was an early sign that things were never going to be the same again in the financial world and that what we had accepted as true ‘customer service’ had been lost, perhaps forever.
Next is our local legal fraternity. Competition, driven by efficiency, attention to detail, the ability to act in a timely manner and accountability has not yet universally arrived on Barbados, with perhaps a few notable exceptions.
And thirdly, but perhaps the single biggest obstacle to even the most ardent investor are the multitude of Government departments that you are forced to deal with. Persistent unanswered voice and emails and in the unlikely event that you can finally establish any form of human interaction, repeated run-arounds and lack of co-operation to achieve simple goals, except in the rarest cases.
Conversely, in our personal experience we encountered one or two outstandingly helpful individuals, but sadly not in any position of authority.
While there have been some bureaucratic improvements during the last four years, a great deal more could and has to be done to make Barbados a more investment friendly country, especially when the nation’s economic recovery depends on it.
In our technological world, every tool exists to make this possible, but it is frightening that ‘we’ seem to be incapable of implementing the fiscal environment that other countries take for granted and benefit from accordingly.
A dispute involving Irish investor Alan McIntosh and other parties with local hotelier Peter Odle continues to be a source of embarrassment for Barbadians and makes public what ordinary Barbadians have been complaining about for many years. We have a court system that is broken and a ‘buddy system’ that protects the favoured in society. In local parlance, two Barbadoses.
The two political parties come and the two political parties go and the problem remains.
See other blogs posted on a dispute which continues to expose our moribund court system and to dent our reputation as a domicile fit and proper to conduct international business. This imbroglio is occurring as Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been promoting the Barbados Welcome Stamp – Work Remotely in Barbados initiative in the international media. It should not be forgotten that attracting foreign direct investment is important to the economic planners to ensure we can honour foreign commitments.
Alan McIntosh dubbed by Barbados Underground as that pesky Irish investor has written a second letter to the Prime Minister of Barbados which encapsulates in summary detail the dysfunctional governance setup and toxic business ethos prevailing in Barbados. The letter separates the issues for the Prime Minister’s under the headings – Court Delay Tactics, Corporate Governance and Abuse of Personal Relationships to Circumvent Creditors.
It is clear from reading the letter that Attorney General Dale Marshall is also aware of the ongoing dispute that threatens to compromise Barbados’ economic recovery effort. In an Affidavit filed with the Barbados court, Abagi Ekoku who is a shareholder in Sandy Bay Holdings Inc (SBHI) named as First Defendant in the pending court matter, explains how a repurchase agreement with Richard Bradford and Peter Odle has gone south and precipitated litigious action.
Clause 23 extracted from the Affidavit sworn by Agagi Ekoku:
On Monday the 10th day of February, 2020, pursuant legal advice which I received from my Attorney-at-Law, I wrote to the Attorney General of Barbados, the Hon. D. Marshall, Q.C., MP. I requested acknowledgement of my aforementioned letter from the office of the Attorney General and received the acknowledgement on the same date from Hazel Mederick, the executive secretary to the Attorney General. To date, I have not received a response to my letter. True copies of the email/letter dated 10th day of February, 2020 and the acknowledgment of the same date are hereto attached and marked “AE3”.
Extracted from the Affidavit of Abagi Ekoku
It pains the blogmaster no end each time a blog of this type is posted which shines a light at the underbelly of Barbados. The upside is that it is being done with the aim of making Barbados a better country for ALL.
The attached photos were are all taken from the Nation newspaper online.
Perhaps, this may be a rare case of inferiority complex raising its head if the relaxed attitude towards the accused shown last week is used as a yardstick to juxtapose the one of Leroy Parris. Neither am I of the opinion this was a deliberate case of self hate but more of a desire to be nice to accused.
However, the question begs are double standards at play, according to position, wealth, race, or public outcry?
What message is been sent to society and international partners when accused black boys are treated with tight handcuffs and some elite are allowed to take picnic strolls?
This is something the local Black Lives Matter agitators should be keeping noise about for this smacks of inequality and institutional self hate. Did the country not see Leroy Parris a man with significant assets in handcuffs and ever so often little black boys charged with a spliff?
This is a sad day in the history of the Royal Barbados Police Force and must not only be publicly condemned but investigated. I will not hold my breath in a society that leaves everything to their god. But what do we expect from an establishment formed as a force in 1835 and still not a service in 2020. If ever we wanted evidence that our society is divided how we treat each other, we need not look any further. Such happenings undermine the good name of the Royal Barbados Police Force and can create distrust among the masses. The silence of those who champion social justice is disturbingly silent, no wonder many see the local black life movement as a farce.
We can continue to selfishly ignore and dismiss wrongs until it hit homes. Each one of us must be craftsmen of our fate and strict guardians of our heritage. Stop taking your freedoms for granted and never accept silence in the presence of inequality as an option. Perception can overwhelm facts and turn truth on its head.
We now know veteran hotelier Peter Odle was recently appointed Chairman of Barbados Port Inc to replace Senator Lisa Cummins who was promote to the Cabinet of Barbados. His first salvo to the media was to sell his private sector experience acquired over many years. We will see Mr. Odle, we will see.
Meanwhile elsewhere it is left to social media players to prosecute a matter where Peter Odle’s name is mentioned. In recent days an unsigned letter addressed to Prime Minister Mia Mottley has been circulating in the Barbados social media space.
In brief, a dispute has arisen between Irish investor Alan McIntosh (Emerald Investment) and newly appointed Chairman Peter Odle. The investor resorted to the Barbados Courts on April 2018 – seeking for matter CV1233 of 2018 to be heard on an urgent basis. Mr. McIntosh has expressed shock that to date the matter is outstanding. See the letter attached which reaffirms an issue promoted regularly in this space, justice delayed is justice denied.
The blogmaster has communicated with our source, reviewed voluminous documents received to understand the details of the dispute. Mr. McIntosh deserves his day in court. The letter confirms a similar filing was made in a Guernsey court – the jurisdiction in which a loan agreement between the parties was consummated – and it was resolved in five months. There are no words to describe how Mr. McIntosh and others gripped in a full nelson by our court system must be feeling. Barbados is a country dependent on tourism and foreign direct investment (FDI). This case does not recommend Barbados as an easy place to do business if our courts are not functioning efficiently to dispense justice in a satisfactory time frame.
It is noteworthy Justice Rajendra Narine is acting Chief Justice now that former Chief Justice Marston Gibson has retired. The vacancy was advertised across the region and the application process will close on 7 September 2020. Successive governments have been unable to wrestle our moribund judicature labouring under the weight of a backlog of cases. Check BU Archives and Lawyer in the News Page for the avoidance of doubt. Prime Minister Mottley was on CNN International assuring all within earshot that Barbados is open for business despite COVID 19. On the flip side our Courts are not equipped to discharge all assigned duties were our guests forced to seek legal remedy.
The blogmaster holds no brief for Peter Odle, therefore this blog is not meant to denigrate the newly appointed Chairman and veteran hotelier. The primary message is to ask why Barbados is unable to deliver timely justice guaranteed under the Constitution to its constituents. William Alan McIntosh deserves for the local Courts to rule on his claim of USD550,000 (with interest and cost) owed by First Defendant Sandy Bay Holdings (2014) Inc and Second Defendant Peter Odle. For an aggrieved party to have to fight the Barbados Courts et al to remedy an injustice is the antithesis to what it should represent.
Emerald Investment Partners (“Emerald”) is the private UK and Irish family investment office of Mr. Alan McIntosh. Our investment record in the UK and Ireland includes co-founding Cairn Homes plc, Ireland’s largest house builder which is quoted on both the Dublin and London stock exchange with a market capitalisation of £800m. Emerald is a significant stakeholder in Interserve plc, a UK outsource provider that employs over 50,000 staff. Mr. McIntosh was co-founder of Punch Taverns in the late 90’s a company he grew to an estate of over 5,000 pubs. Emerald was the lead investor in the acquisition of a portfolio of airport hotels which were being privatised by the Irish Government (Great Southern Hotels) and we acquired and funded Carechoice, a company that has gone on to become one of the largest nursing homes operators in Ireland. Emerald continues to be an active investor in UK & Irish residential and commercial real estate, hotel and leisure assets.
After 10 years the Prospers were brought before the High courts on a Claim for compensation for items removed and damaged, damages for trespass, duress, loss of income and a declaration of the contents of the garage bags and other items allegedly dumped from the dwellings.
In response they applied for a strike out they claimed:
they were Agents working on behalf of the owner
the same matter was tried before the Magistrate’s Courts (res judicata)
the claim is Statute barred
Yesterday Monday August 10 during Oral Submissions the first two claims were withdrawn. It was argued on their behalf re #3 that the cause of action occurred in 2009 and therefore was way over the limitation of actions bar.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW
The claimant claimed that there was an agreement between the Prospers the Police to return the items taken to their home and compensate for those damaged and allegedly dumped and since none or any of the agreement was upheld, limitations does not apply.
The Defence then claimed that the particulars to the above were not properly pleaded.
The Claimant claimed it was sufficiently so as per Affidavit/Statement of Case. Matter adjourned for Decision.
It is staggering to discover that many Attorneys in Barbados learned that civil cases are to begin with Claim Form and Statement of Case, as per CPR, and it seems that they forget all about the other parts that make up the Statement of Case, time and time again. In Hannigan v Hannigan All ER (D)693 at appeal the Lord Justice Denning said that:
The new rules should be construed widely and generously to give effect to its manifest intentions: “I think that any application to the court, however informal, is a ‘proceeding’’. There were ‘proceedings’ in being at the very moment that the plaintiff made his affidavit and his solicitor lodged it with the court.”+
He further quoted Bowen LJ in 1887 who was quoted by Holroyd Pearce LJ in Pontin v Wood (1962) 1: “It may be asserted without fear of contradiction that it is not possible in the year 1885 for an honest litigant in her Majesty’s Supreme Court to be defeated by any mere technicality, any slip, any mistake step, in his litigation.”
“Where in beginning or purporting to begin any proceedings or at any stage in the course of or in connection with any proceedings, there has, by reason of anything done or left undone, been a failure to comply with the requirements of these rules, whether in respect of time, place, manner, form or content or in any other respect, the failure shall be treated as an irregularity and shall not nullify the proceedings, any step taken in the proceedings, or any document, judgement or order therein.”
Now, I really don’t know what all this means. You tell me.
There are two despicable practices operating here.
The prevalence of Landlords breaching Tenants’ rights to peaceful enjoyment.
Reckless Attorneys advising clients/Landlords or Agents to change locks or other.
These are contemptible acts and when it passes the wrong person/Tenant this is what happens.
This scourge must stop. Tenants are humans. Tenants’ children’s lives matter.
The Claimant claim is that sometime between January and April 2009 Linda and James Prosper of Diamond Valley, St Philip entered into a premises at West Terrace allegedly acting on instructions from the Landlord Reba Euline and Mr Harcourt Gill of Smith & Smith and removed various personal items belonging to the occupants of the house.
When the matter was reported to the Holetown Police Station the Prospers claimed they were instructed to change lock and throw out items and repossess property because the neighbours told them that the Claimants migrated overseas..
Upon questioning it was found that there was no eviction order. The Claimant reported that the items removed ought not to have been dumped because they were unique, collector’s items, electronics, antiques, paintings and very valuable. Among them a common GE Cordless phone and GE Digital Answering Machine. Estimated value is thousands of dollars. Threatened with conviction Mr Prosper gingerly volunteered to compensate for the initial items reported missing. The interviewing Officer after careful analysis of the Claimants complaint (that if the purpose was to repossess the premises then all of the items, including furnishings would also have been dumped.but instead they remained in the house) warned the Prospers that they should return any items they knew they had removed to their house and compensate the Claimant or be charged for a crime. The parties agreed to this and to keep the peace.
The Prospers had left their wet and dry vacuum at the premises and returned for it. The Claimant told them they won’t get it until they returned her items. The Prospers returned another time in the absence of the Claimant, entered again without an Order, removed their vacuum, dismantled and gathered various items from around the dwelling and dumped them together in the living area. Another report was made to the Holetown Police Station but the Officer on duty remarked that the people want their house and you should leave and pursue legal action.
The Claimant vacated the premises in October 2009. During packing many more items from cupboards and books from shelves were discovered missing totalling tens of thousands of dollars. The Claimant on vacating advised the Prospers of so doing and asked when they intended to return and compensate the Claimants. They gave no specific time. Complaints and requests for criminal charges to be laid against the Prospers to Stn Sgt Woodroof one of the Officers in April received the response: ‘the people said they would compensate you, just wait. Insisting on the immediate return of the missing Paintings he said ‘the people didn’t steal them, they took them for safe keeping”. Letters sent by Attorney requesting the return and compensation went unanswered. Letters and visits by Bailiff too went unanswered. The matter was placed before the St Matthias court civil division in 2015 but was referred to the High Court.
A Statement from the Holetown Police was requested of the Commissioner of Police for this course of action. The Commissioners’ Office indicated that since there was an agreement with the Police to compensate and that wasn’t upheld the Prospers can be so charged then. It took 2 years for the Inspector to complete his investigations, claiming that other more pressing matters kept cropping up. The Report was that too much time had passed and memory faded.
Mr Prosper surprisingly admitted to taking the GE Phone and Digital answering machine to his house but when asked to return it he claimed he subsequently dumped it. He was charged and placed before the Magistrate on November 16, 2016 for the two items only. He appeared in court, pleaded guilty, was reprimanded and discharged unknown to me. No costs were awarded. Following up on the matter, the Claimant received a letter from the Commissioner of Police dated June 15 2018 advising of all the above shenanigans.
Statements from Holetown Police station including one from Stn Sgt Edwards of the Tactical Response Team who was part of the investigation in 2009 was finally received. Included were photos taken by the Prospers of the interiors of the dwellings identifying some of the very items charged as missing.from the premises and close-up photographs of photos of the minor (child occupant) on the walls. This suggested a keen n uncanny interest in the minor and led to a closer look and audit of the minor’s belongings and thereupon discovered an alarming amount of other personal items missing totalling tens of thousands.
Civil action was filed in the High Courts in June of 2019 and first docked in November 2019 and dismissed for non appearance of the Claimants. The matter was Reinstated forthwith in December 2019.
That brings it to three times the Prospers were before the law courts for this matter, Fly out of jail but still always back to face the Claim.
SOCIAL JUSTICE NETWORK & CLINICS CBC Pension Scandal In the High Court of Judicature – CV 2550 of 2002
In September 2000 CBC paid out the proceeds from a CBC/ICB Group Non-contributory Pension Policy to a named beneficiary. The 2nd Claimant is the rightful heir to the deceased assets. The named Beneficiary, Dawn Abrams-Grazette (defendant), first told the Claimants and their attorney Dr Haynes Blackman that everything belonged to the 2nd Claimant. Upon instructions by Dr Blackman that his Clients would be taking charge of the Estate, the defendant became acrimonious. She claimed she meant everything in the estate.
Pensions are Trusts and are part of a deceased estate under protection. I started from this trajectory. Thus ensued two decades long search and battle to bring these proceeds back to the rightful beneficiary.
The defendant claimed that since the named beneficiary was her it was hers and was for
her only. You can learn a lot from a dummy!
The 1st Claimant would have none of this. Court proceedings were initiated using the Succession Act. Dr Blackman died, the second Attorney became a judge then Rositta Babb died, Carolyne Herbert died. All these attorneys agreed that the second claimant had priority to the beneficiary as per the Family Law and Succession Act.
Between 2002 and 2015 a dozen attorneys were consulted and all reiterated that once a
named beneficiary is noted that is that.
CBC for their part and as Administrator/Trustees of the Group Life Pension Plan did nothing, like claw back or rescind the payment since they had that authority under a non-contributory Pension Plan. It was the CBC’s Plan not the insured/deceased. Instead the then General Manager hid behind a veil claiming the CBC carried out the deceased wishes. Not forgetting it is a non-contributory pension plan. The GM is now Chairman.
Between 2015 and 2018 the claimants retained a new attorney and was told that they had to prove that it was intended for the minor by way of the specifics of the plan. The attorney tried to get information from the CBC regarding the terms of the Plan. Though information about the kind of Plan and when it was effected was provided CBC refused to give any information regarding the operation of the said plan and who intrinsically is entitled to claimor benefit from it.
At a deadlock the 1st Claimant suggested that if the attorney could not by authority get CBC to hand over the information she would take over the case and so the attorney pulled out. This signalled apparent blood dripping and the defendant’s attorney jumped at the opportunity to strike out on the grounds of an abuse of process but the 1st Claimant argued differently. The matter was adjourned to March 2019 for submissions from both parties. The 1st claimant took charge and reread all the information received for CBC and ICB’s Members’ Handbook and proceeded. Listed in the information was the fact that the policy was effected in 1996 (the year before the new Insurance Law which states a named beneficiary is final)
A visit to ICB met with more stalling because the Letters of Administration had expired. They too refused to cooperate. However the Members’ handbook had clearly stated that benefits were for dependants only. It also stated that the Master Plan for this Policy was lodged with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) which was originally the statutory body handling Pensions and Insurance.
Submissions were filed within the deadlines but the matter (because the claimants were
self represented) were being adjourned and adjourned until red-phone calls began to fly.
During all that time the Claimant visited four locations of the IRS now BRA only to be told
Pensions and Insurances are being handled by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
In October 27 2019 the parties met before court for pleadings. The Judge was unwilling to
hear from the ‘unrepresented’ party. However pleadings proceeded and the matter was adjourned to January 27 for a Decision and Claimants to seek counsel. There was no need
for counsel since all submissions were already filed. The adjournments were working in the Claimants’ favour.
A visit to FSC and discussions and explorations revealed that the two instruments are very different. In the words of the Officer: Pension is not Insurance. Dumbfounded the Claimant asked to clarify that statement and was told each has its own legislation. Armed with this new information the Claimant filed further submissions to include this detail as well as new independent submissions for the second claimant reinforcing the right to maintenance and priority…
On January 27 there was no decision forthcoming. New pleadings erupted about the further submissions and the erroneous defence of using the Insurance Act to defend a Pension Plan.
The matter was again adjourned to April 1st for decision. There was a national lockdown
from March so nothing came of that, although some sectors were functioning virtually,
including the Judiciary. The courts resumed operations since May 18th but no decision yet forthcoming.
From May to now is four months where decisions are due within three months.
From January 27 to now is eight months.
Barbados is a twilight Zone.
Even the Judiciary where justice is sought is of questionable behaviour. Its rank of incompetence and other odiousness. It is no wonder the cases are backed up. Judges playing the A********* all the time. Clogging up the system with cases that need only be heard once and discharged but rather adjourning and adjourning and
adjourning. Its a scam.
As long as it takes, a decision one way or another has to be made. It cannot be made in favour of a defence on the Insurance Act.
The 2nd Claimant has priority as per the Succession Act
The Pensions Act and ICB Handbook and Master Plan dictates benefits for
dependants only. The 2nd Claimant is the sole issue and dependent of the deceased.
Me, just me and my statistician and secretarial skills was able to unravel a rather
straightforward case in effect. No mystery no intrigue. Just common sense.
Twenty RH years. Paying attorneys that were spewing more RH. I could have decided to defend this case since 2002 and be over and done with it. But nothing happens before its
The claim before the courts is for:
Return of the Policy proceeds and interest and multiplier (% devaluation of each $1)
Damages for duress and opportunity cost
Devastavit of estate
Disgorgement (seizure of all gains made from the proceeds).
I do not know how attorneys are learning or how they are serving clients but they are just not impactful and or knowledgeable in uncommon areas of the law. One attorney, number 13, with a PhD was adamant that I didn’t stand a chance because there is a named beneficiary. None of them noticed (or perhaps they were representing the defendant or protecting CBC), that the particular policy went into effect before the amendment to the Insurance Act (1997).
My advice to employees of CBC is that they check and update their beneficiaries to their Pension Plan regularly to ensure that who they want to have it gets it. Do not depend on the Administrators of the Plan. It is either they do not know or understand their responsibility or the operation of the Plan or it was a grave duck up.
Secondly, mothers who have children with workers at CBC and are eligible for Pensions (10years service) should ensure that the beneficiary form is completed properly and where necessary an added notation (on the Form) expressing who the proceeds are for where there is a named beneficiary other than the children.
On January 16, 2020, a jury in the Eastern District of New York found Donville Inniss (“Mr. Inniss”) guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h), and two counts of substantive money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A). Mr. Inniss now moves for a judgment of acquittal on all three counts of conviction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c)(2) (“Rule 29(c)(2)”). For the reasons set forth below, Mr. Inniss’s motion is respectfully DENIED.
-Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto
On the 24 July 2020 Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto of the United States District Court Eastern District of New York in the matter United States of America v. Donville Inniss denied Inniss’ request for acquittal on all three counts of conviction – see Donville Inniss GUILTY as Charged. As a human being AND Barbadian the blogmaster feels some sympathy for the disgraced former member of parliament for St. James South. It is reported Inniss could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years for crimes committed.
A read of Judge Matsumoto’s Summary of the Matter raises againthe question about the local players fingered in the corruption which originated at ICBL. Will they ever have to face trial in the USA or Barbados? It seems incomprehensible to the average John Citizen that a former minister in the Barbados government was arrested and found guilty in a foreign land for a crime that had its incubation in Barbados and no punitive action taken by local authorities.
The blogmaster anticipates the communication machinery of the Barbados Labour Party is already being tuned – three years before the general election is constitutionally due – to take full advantage of the incarceration of former minister Inniss. It is interesting to note this week the Integrity in Public Life Act (2020) was passed in parliament and prime minister Mottley indicated she expects the Integrity Commission to be established by next year. If it is one thing the blogmaster is sure about is that the commission will be established before the bell rings to call the next general election.
The blogmaster’s calender has been updated with the 23 November, 2020 at 11AM. What ever happens it will be a date that will admit Barbados officially to political infamy.
In The Sunday Sun page 9A Stephen Lashley postulates that Ms Medford did not consult with ‘the patient’s’ attorney and could not act in this matter without adhering to the Mental Health Act and thus that after reading my ‘documents’ it was clear that I had not consulted the ‘patient’s’ Attorney and that my statement regarding Barbados’ laws are without foundation and further that the proceedings were bad in law. Which Law?
First of all I did not undertake to assist a ‘patient’ but a human; an older person. Thus I was instructed by the International Human Rights Act, since Barbados has none. I filed a Statement of case with two Claimants. The Attorney General of Barbados and Barbados’ Law does not speak anything to the International Human Rights Act as regards older persons that I know of. Therefore I was guided by precedents from afield. The Human Rights act regards persons over 65 as older persons, humans not patients. Bang!
Thus I did not have to adhere to the Mental Health Act which in itself, used as Mr Lashley and his clients are purporting to use it, is a violation of the older person’s civil liberties. Bang!
Secondly, I have known the ‘older person’s’ attorney, having accompanied him on occasions to conduct matters and I did consult that Attorney and alerted them that the older person was in distress. With the landline removed and the mobile under the control of the perpetrators the Attorneys could not make direct contact and he did advise me to try to get him into the office. I retained my Attorney to meet with the older person but when I went to the premises to get him I was told he cannot leave. From 2018 to 2019 when I decided to put the matter before the court he was denied as well as privacy to speak to me. Access to legal services is a civil right of older persons. Bang!
At the end of the hearing on 25 February 2020, which Mr Lashley attended for the first time and was the third of these proceedings, I asked if he had spoken to the older person and he said no but that he would be representing the entire family in the matter of the . He misled the Judge. He and his clients are circumventing the law. He is proposing to represent an older person without the older person’s knowledge (at the time of requesting the permission to act). In so doing he is denying that older person the right to his own representation.
Thus for all intent and purposes of my case 333 0f 2019, Mr Lashley could not have been the elder’s attorney nor the rules and procedure he refers to could not have or should not have been applied to my case. IT WAS NOT A CASE UNDER MENTAL HEALTH ACT. BARBADOS cannot dictate what act a claimant brings a claim under.
Based on that conversation with Mr Lashley I filed my Submissions quoting the Human Rights Convention on Older Persons and cited cases and academic materials on cases of elder abuse using this Act.
The decision to have the case dealt with under the Mental Health Act was already entertained on the second meeting , 13 February 2020 before Mr Lashley’s appearance and permission was given after he indicated that it was his client’s intention to file such Application. All before my submissions. My submissions were never reviewed. The documents Mr Lashley refered to could not have been my Submissions because they were not filed when the decision was made to go with the Mental Health Act. The court took the position that the matter was best dealt with under the Mental Health Act. This is a travesty and miscarriage of justice regarding older persons’ protection because the very perpetrators are the ones seeking to manage the older person’s assets and welfare.
In dismissing the case on 26 June 2020, I asked the Judge Why. In reply she stated that my case was not procedurally sound (etc). Procedure and Form are not by themselves grounds for dismissing a case that is a matter of Law and especially one founded on Human Rights or on older persons. This case is not a frivolous matter. In fact it is constitutional.
With regards to cost, Mr Lashley and his clients will be waiting a darn long time for that. First there were two Claimants; the older person being the 2nd Claimant. This does not obtain under the Mental Health Act. Secondly Mr Lashley before even meeting or speaking with the older person but following instructions and allegations from his clients is prematurely diagnosing the older person as ‘a patient’ (that suggestion that the person is incompetent to make decisions for himself merely because of his age).
There are pieces of legislation, the DPS in the Ministry of Elder Affairs said so. But none of the agencies I approached could use the legislation to move in and investigate and correct unless the older person themself made the complaint. That is what frustrated the case. Mr Lashley needs to familiarize himself with that technicality. The judge herself was wary of issuing a Protective Order to remove the offending party(ies) or the older person for fear of allegations of trespass (?) and opt instead for summoning all parties to appear before her. Mr Lashley’s clients did not pass on the summons or the statement of case delivered for the elder to him. Devious. Contempt of court. (mail tampering and a violation to the older person’s rights to privacy). Therefore he did not appear in court to say one way or another in the matter 333 of 2019 or was he asked whether he agrees to the defendants’ application to represent him as Receivers. So we head to Appeal.
The Law is an ass or the people that work it. STEPHEN LASHLEY TRYING TO SCARE PERSONS FROM REPRESENTING THEMSELVES IN COURT
CIBC (First Caribbean International Bank) is again accused of oppressive behaviour by an average Bajan citizen. In a sixteen year long dispute between the McIntosh Vs CIBC the family has turned to social media, AGAIN, to seek justice in the court of public opinion.
Submitted by a Concerned Party (updated 1/07/2020 7:33PM)
In the High Court of Judicature CV#333 of 2019 – When losing is winning big
A dear elderly friend mentioned to me some difficulties he was experiencing at the hands of his children together with their mother, his ex-wife, I realised it was elder abuse immediately but especially flagrant abuses of his civil liberties.
He wanted to get his attorney to conduct or change some business but was being prevented from so doing. Since I was well known to the household I told him I will inquire for him but would need his permission. I however made an appointment with my attorney and called him saying I’ll pick him up the next day to take him to the attorney. When I arrived the next day his daughter was there with him and asked what the mission was about. I ignored the question. This was 2017.
I visited the Welfare/Probation Department and complained. They said he has to make the complaint himself. I went to the Police but they said the same thing. Called the US Embassy they said the same thing. They further said that they have to respect the laws in the host country and there were none that empowered them to intervene.
Bound and in disbelief I consulted an attorney who said there were no elder abuse laws in Barbados but I could bring the case under Neglect or such but advised that unless they get instructions directly or a written authorization they couldn’t take the case. No attorney would take the case or bring a case unless the elderly give direct instructions.
I continued to monitor the situation. But subsequent visits the daughter was always very in the midst of us so that no personal or private conversation could be conducted. It is unacceptable that there is not one authority in Barbados that can move in and protect the elderly that are being abused either physically or financially or civilly or sexually or psychologically except the elder makes that complaint themselves.
So what was very peculiar in this instance was the hostage effect. The elder was barred from using the telephone he pays for or visiting or being visited by anyone outside those who bought the talk that he is senile or suffers (incurable) from Alzheimer’s. Everyone is warned that he doesn’t know what he is saying so they let sleeping dogs lie.
There is apathy when dealing with the elderly too. Its as though they have passed their “use by date”. While visiting the Probation Department I collected literature on Elder Abuse under the UN Human Rights Convention. I decided that I would bite the bullet and get some action on this elderly’s behalf using this Law.
I filed a case in the High court in March of 2019 with an emergency application seeking among other orders, primarily a Protection Order and Partial-Custodianship. I was given April 19th (Good Friday) then that was postponed to July 25 which was postponed again and then to year end, 2019. After some outside intervention I finally got a Judge and date: February 27 2020.
1. On that first appearance January 27, 2020
The Judge said she studied the file and is aufait with the case contents and orders sought. She asked if anyone helped me with the Application and I said no but I did speak with an attorney. She knew it was flawed. But before sharing this with me and giving me the leave to correct it she continued with it as is. She told me that I will get some of the orders but not all. She adjourned for two weeks to invite the Probation department to guide her, saying that this matter was new to the courts. I was relieved that I could then leave this burden to the professionals.
2 Second Appearance: February 13, 2020
On that date I appeared and there was no Officer from the Probation Department (PD). Instead the judge told me that she had decided to deal with the matter under the Mental Health Act (MHA) because the PD doesn’t have power under their Act to deal with such aspects of this matter but only economic assistance. She did not consider any other act. She instructed me to serve all the Defendants. I resisted because I requested an Ex Parte Application for a Protection Order on this action and that wasn’t given. She said that is for Magistrates’ courts. She said serve the defendants. I tried to explain the dangers in these cases (and trafficking) of alerting the perpetrators/defendants of what is happening while the victim/elderly remained in the dwelling and in a vulnerable state. She said,“that’s a chance we will have to take”. Distressed and overwhelmed I began canvassing the various agencies that are or should be dealing with elderly abuse or care of the elderly or human rights to try to avoid serving and alerting the defendants of the pending actions while the victim remained in the same space. No one could do anything but the Ministry of People Empowerment advised that there were many legislations that could have been used that authorize the ance of a Protection Order. They couldn’t do anything since the matter was already occupying the courts’ attention. At a dead-end and with the deadline for minimum service time nearing I went against my better judgment and decided to go ‘like a lamb for the slaughter. I served the documents. No time was I told that the case before the court was procedurally wrong.
3 Appearance February 25, 2020
The Defendants appeared with an Attorney who said that I had no grounds for bringing a case on behalf of the elderly since I did not seek and obtain the courts’ permission. He moved to strike out my case in place for an application for Custodianship of the elderly by the very Defendants who the elder asked to be protected from the Mental Health Act. claiming I did not have the court’s permission. I asked for immunity for any possible damages for bringing the case and the Judge seemed shocked at the request. The Attorney ventured that I was asking for immunity only because I didn’t want to pay cost. I said I wasn’t bothered about cost. That went over his head. I informed that there was another child from another relationship. The Judge cautioned that the defendants must be transparent and that all relevant parties must be included in the application. The attorney indicated that the Act allows the patient to say who he wants to be involved in his care. To my mind that is under normal circumstances when the elder is in agreement to and part of that decision but not part of the Claim. The Judge then said if by the adjourned date she does not have the MHA application before her “the issue will have to be kept alive” . that is the case on file. The same case with all the ‘not procedurally sound’ issues.
With this conditionality and know it would take some time to get in touch with the other child, and knowing that I did not use the MHA but was guided by the Human Rights Act/Principles for Older Persons resolution 46/91 of December 1991 of which Barbados is a signatory I decided to prepare and file my Submissions.
The 2nd Claimant did not appear because although the Court served Take Notices on all parties, he did not receive his service. The defendants purposely and maliciously withheld all this information from him. The matter was adjourned for March 20. The Attorney indicated to me after the hearing that he has never met the 2nd Claimant.
The case was further postponed to March 26 then along came Coronavirus.
4 Appearance Friday 26, June
The Judge indicated that she did have the application under the Mental Health Act in her hands and therefore she will dismiss the original case. I asked why and indicated that I filed submissions for my case which stated the law under which a party could bring a case on behalf of another and gives immunity. The Attorney interjected that I went ahead and filed submissions although I was advised that the application for the MHA would be soon coming. He further stated that I did not have the court’s permission to act as the elder’s friend. I was shocked. Only then did the judge say to me that my matter is not procedurally sound. He also stated that the Judge should not even have been entertaining me since I was not a legal party. Four sessions. I asked for leave to get permission.
I asked for leave to get permission but the Judge indicated that she had the MHA application in her hands (as if to say the one overrides the other). Not being an Attorney they distracted me. The Judge never reviewed my Submissions, it seems, as she clearly had decided to go with only what she knew and what the defendants’
Attorney proposed: the MHA regardless of my response to the defendants that I did have grounds to bring a case under the Human Rights Act as outlined in the submissions before her (filed before the defendants’ MHA) and which is interpreted to state that I did not need the court’s permission in this instance. The Elder was a part of the Claim.
My application was faulty, yes, covering what could be deemed many cases/issues. The remedy therefore could have been to strike out that part of the case which was in conflict with the Law and retain and ventilate those which were covered by the law as per my submissions.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs did say that there were several legislations that could have been used to issue a Protection Order. This is mind-boggling. I bowed out. I however asked for the elder to be allowed his independent attorney as in the first instance it was a violation of his civil liberties;that he was held hostage in his own home and secondly denied access to his attorney and appropriate medical care and attention.
The big irony is that the Attorney asked for cost which I instructed that the 2nd Claimant will have to pay since it was his case I was joined with. He has to pay the cost for attempting to bring a case against the defendants who used his money to mount the defence against his case. T he very defendants who are again now using his money to bring a MHA application without his knowledge or consent to suggest/ inquire into his capacity to manage his own affairs and for them to do so if he is found to be incompetent.
Stephen Lashley missed it all along…that the elder was also listed as Claimant. LMAO
The Law is an Ass. Or the people that work it.
Nothing in my Statement of Case suggests that I intended to be the party applying for Custodianship of the elder.