If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected–those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most!–and listens to their testimony.
The crime situation affecting Barbados is a cause for concern. In 2019 Barbados registered 49 murders based on the official report. Clearly there has been a seismic shift in the social fabric of the society. The blogmaster is onboard with pressuring government and the police to efficiently enforce laws without compromise to create a culture of discipline in our little society. However, there is urgent remedial action needed to arrest the systemic matters on the opposite side of enforcement.
Recently the blogmaster as he parked the jalopy a youngster – found out he was 19 years old later in conversation – requested the opportunity to wash the vehicle. According to him, he had not eaten for the day. A conversation ensued – he attended St. George Secondary School, left in 4th Form without a single CXC. He tried to secure – unsuccessfully – a job as a gas attendant. He lived with an aunt and uncle because his parents showed no interest in his upbringing, no supervision while at school, he was left to do as he will. The result…
The blogmaster shared the story because at the root of many of our problems is the lack of parental care. A wholesome society is the aggregate of stable family units first and foremost. We live in a time where ceding our obligations to the Commissioner of Police of Attorney General is par for the course.
We need efficient enforcement of our laws by the police to ensure justice is delivered AND we need our Courts to deliver justice to respect the maxim, justice delayed is justice denied. The case load in the Barbados Courts has been rising in recent years to prompt Attorney General Dale Marshall to opine words to the effect – the system was about to crash under its weight. Successive governments have been unable to clear the backlog – even the appointment of a Chief Justice from ‘outside’ and talk about alternative dispute resolution have failed to arrest the issue.
The following article in the press was drawn to the attention of the blogmaster.
Bid to cut backlog of murder cases
Added 07 January 2020
Justice Carlisle Greaves (FILE)
All eighty-four murder accused, some with cases as old as ten years, will have their day in court this year.
In addition, with 54 matters awaiting sentencing, the new Assizes system will see the last Friday of each month dedicated to those decisions, with the intention of reducing that backlog by the end of February.
The new system was rolled out by Justice Carlisle Greaves yesterday as he joined four other judges for the historic sitting of five High Courts to hear the Criminal Assizes.
Justice Greaves, who will preside over Supreme Court No 3, joins Justices Randall Worrell who sits in Supreme Court 2, Laurie-Ann Smith-Bovell in No 4, Christopher Birch in No. 5A and Pamela Beckles who presides over Court No. 5. (HLE)
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We have seen several attempts to deal with issues in the Courts. A country that aspires to respect the rights of actors living and operating therein must honour the principles of justice. We will have to wait to review later in the year.