Justice is Coming!

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.       

-James Baldwin

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

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, ​heatherlynevanson@nationnews.com

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)

Subscribe now to our eNATION edition for the full story.

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.

When Justice Blinked for 10 Rh Years

One definition of a symptom is defined as a sign of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation. In the last 72 hours this blogmaster found a more lucid meaning for the word. A man that stole a bag and contents including $1,000 cash with a total value of $9,230.30 on the 27 March 2009 – as a result of the act he spent 10 years on remand at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

This story immediately evoked embarrassment in the mind of the blogmaster. It ranks up there with the time raw sewage spewied onto one of our most popular streets on the South Coast.

Barbados Underground has posted voluminously about the dysfunction that defines the Barbados Judiciary. If you are in doubt click on the link at the top of this page – File Complaints Against Lawyers.

Successive governments have paid lip service to the problem. There was great hope when outsider Marston Gibson was recruited to fill the post of Chief Justice. However, without the financial support and the will to penetrate an entrenched culture his job was never going to be easy. Some also question his competence.

Recently Attorney General Dale Marshall announced that the government is in the process of recruiting  additional judges to help with improving how justice is dispensed in Barbados. It is interesting to quote Marshall explaining why the search for new judges is being advertised outside of Barbados :-

… to attract the highest calibre of individual to the Bench…I have been a lawyer for almost 30 years and there have been days when I would wake up one day and see in the paper that John Brown is appointed to the Bench. There was no advertisement…None of these were transparent arrangements, but any vacancy for judge in our judiciary, whether High Court or Court of Appeal, will be advertised in Barbados, in the Caribbean, in Caricom, in the Commonwealth, as far as Australia; everywhere in the Commonwealth…

Dale Marshall, Attorney General

The drive to recruit judges from outside of Barbados is interesting because of the huge number of locally trained lawyers educated at great expense to taxpayers.

Winston Adolphus Agard

Winston Agard

How can an educated people go about its daily business if the majority of the population- including those responsible- are not motivated to feel and express outrage at what occurred to Winston Adolphus Agard?

Attorney General Dale Marshall issued a sympathetic statement on the Agard matter as he is politically obligated to do. The question we have to ask is how many more define the revised definition of symptom? How many more human beings are sitting at Dodds prison on remand- forgotten by the system?

Screenshot 2019-06-08 at 07.49.24

Floyd Downes

Barbadians everywhere thank prison warder Floyd Downes for his civic minded act. It is reported he whispered to court officials including Justice Randall Worrell about the horrific miscarriage of Justice Agard was being made to suffer by the Barbados justice system.

Why, why, why so long? How many more?

This blogmaster urges AG Dale Marshall to direct Superintendent of Prisons John Nurse with immediate effect to audit all inmates on remand at the Dodds prison and report findings. The information that will be of interest is the length of time those on remand. We have to address the symptoms until a more incisive cure can be implemented whenever that may occur.

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Odd Usages and Access to Justice

For those few souls who take the time to read my weekly musings, I should apologize for my intermittent absences during the past two months or so. It is that time of the year when the life of a university lecturer is consumed with the reading and assessment of supervised research projects, mid term assignments, the completion of courses and preparation for end of semester examinations. When these are supplemented by attendances at obligatory meetings, the preparation of workshop presentations, the composition of other writings, and of sundry addresses to gatherings, it leaves one but little time only to compose a column of the desired quality within a given deadline. Hence the absence of a contribution in this space last week and two weeks prior.

Today’s contribution was assisted in some regard by the invitation to deliver an address on access to justice in the region to the partners of a prominent Toronto law firm visiting Barbados for their annual retreat.

Before I recount my thoughts on that area, however, I must make mention of two matters in the local press that aroused my interest in relatively recent days. The first is the report of an upcoming court martial by the Barbados Defence Force in which the rank is charged, inter alia, with the offence that he “communicated with the enemy.” I am almost certain that there may be such an offence, but I am still in wonder as to who or what constitutes an enemy of Barbados and why and what would a soldier be communicating with and to such an entity. There has been no further clarification up to the time of writing this. Are we no longer “friends of all, satellites of none” as to we so proudly boasted on attaining sovereign statehood in 1966?

The second item is from a radio advertisement that I overheard during the past week. I am not au courant with the styles of address of peerage and nobility, but it did strike me as amiss that the mother of the Honourable Prime Minister should be referred to as “Amor, Lady Mottley”.

On further researching the issue, I learnt thatthe wife of the holder of a [British] knighthood is referred to by the courtesy title “”Lady (husband’s surname)” i.e. Lady Smith. Using Lady before their first name would be incorrect as that is the style for women holding a peerage courtesy title such as the daughters of high-ranking peers”.

Further, according to one source, In the United Kingdom, the style “Lady Mary Smith” indicates that a woman is a holder of a peerage courtesy title in her own right, and is considered incorrect usage by the wife of a knight. In New Zealand’s more relaxed society, however, as there is no system of hereditary peerages, this convention is not always observed and the following styles may be used on occasions where the holder of the courtesy title considers it to be appropriate:

  • Lady Mary OR Lady Mary Smith.

If a knight divorces and remarries, the current and former wife (or wives) who retains their current and former husband’s surname is/are entitled to use the courtesy title of “Lady”. There may be, therefore, several “Lady Smiths”. In those situations where there is more than one former wife living and entitled to use the courtesy title, a forename may be used; e.g.

  • Mary, Lady Smith.

According to this, Sir Elliott’s wife should be properly referred to as “Lady Mottley”. The honorific “Amor, Lady Mottley” would be correct only in a circumstance where the couple is divorced or the marriage has been dissolved by death as in the arguably correct appellation last week of Yvonne, Lady Gollop, the widow of Sir Fred, at the renaming of Nation House. It would appear that the currently running advertisement is therefore guilty of incorrect usage. These things do matter to some and, indeed, may be conveying an unintended message!

As for the presentation on access to justice, I first made reference to the constitutional guarantee to be found in section 18 (8) of the supreme law, perhaps as much honoured these days in the breach as in the observance, to the effect that

Any court or other tribunal prescribed by law for the determination of the existence or extent of any civil right or obligation shall be established by law and shall be independent and impartial; and where proceedings for such a determination are instituted by any person before such court or other tribunal, the case shall be given a fair hearing within a reasonable time”.

I also noted the injunction to the citizenry of former Prime Minister and now National Hero, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, that if they were seeking justice, they should keep far from Coleridge Street (then the site of the courts). There is more truth to this injunction that might first appear even though I sense that Mr Barrow spoke with his tongue firmly fixed in cheek. First, while it may be a desirable incident of the application of the law, doing justice is subsidiary in the deliberations of the court. Second, the court trial is not by any means the sole mode of obtaining a desired justice solution, either in the strict sense; given the parallel existence of other informal and less formal institutions, such as a tribunal, commission, the Ombudsman or alternative dispute resolution mechanisms or even the socio-cultural institution of leaning on the influence of one’s MP or priest to secure a benefit or entitlement. Of course, it would be difficult to convince lawyers and even law students of the cogency of this, given their interest, as one writer has put it, in maintaining jurisdiction over the problems that people experience. Such jurisdiction is the bread and butter of the profession and their very raison d’être.

To Rebecca Sandfour, in an article entitled “Access to What?” the central issue is to identify the true nature of the problem. She writes, If the problem is people’s unmet legal needs, the solution is more legal services. If the problem is unresolved justice problems, a wider range of options opens up.

In my view, the latter more accurately reflects the current concerns of individuals than the former. And while there may be no paucity of legal services available in Barbados, we should rather concentrate our energies on the various modes of resolution of justice problems such as the alternative methods of resolving disputes surrounding eviction, debt collection, domestic violence, access to benefits, custody and maintenance of children, property issues, employment issues, and legal services complaints. Our problem may not be so much access to justice, but the timeliness of ogtaining it.This is a project worthy of pursuit by the purveyors of justice education in the region.


Time to Modernize Court System

Judicial Impact Assessment (JIA) is a process whereby the government can anticipate the likely cost of implementing a legislation through the courts and help deliver timely justice to litigants. Litigation demand depends on a variety of factors most of which are not factored in the making of laws. This results in the court system being left with little or no extra resources to cope with additional cases generated by new laws… The Hindu (Judicial impact assessment and timely delivery of justice)

One of the pillar issues of the Barbados Underground through the years has been to focus on a dysfunctional Barbados Judicial System.  It is a fact that timely delivery of justice in the local court system has been compromised because of many factors detailed in the Tales of the Courts.

Fast forward to the present, we have an embarrassing situation where the delivery of justice of the Barbados Supreme Court has been negatively affected because the ‘relatively’ new building is deemed to be a threat to the health of the occupants and has had to be closed for maintenance. The result is that the court system threatens to crash under its own weight- to borrow words from newly installed Attorney General Dale Marshall- as cases have had to be tried using alternative arrangements. Not to forget the ancillary services that form part of the delivery of court services that have to be arranged for as well.

Central to maintaining an orderly society is to ensure we are able to efficiently manage a judicial system that is made relevant. The inability of successive governments to ensure timely delivery of justice by providing adequate oversight has been the biggest challenge. While we are being overwhelmed by basic issues related to occupational health and safety of court buildings, misplaced files, incompetent judicial officers and the like- modern court systems in more enlightened jurisdictions are being planned.

A new flagship court specifically designed to tackle cybercrime, fraud, and economic crime will reinforce the UK’s reputation as a world-leading legal centre, the Lord Chancellor will announce tonight (Wednesday 4 July).

The following article is reproduced to be used as a benchmark to what is required if we are to align with real world demands of the legal system. It is noteworthy how technology will be integrated in the delivery of justice to manage:

  •  case files and applications to the court e.g. apply for divorce,
  • small money claims
  • apply for probate
  • create strategic linkage with the transportation sector to resolve cases.
  • deal with minor (nuisance cases) online

Read the full article (thanks to Senator Caswell Franklyn for sharing)

World-class fraud and cybercrime court approved for london’s fleetbank house site

A new flagship court specifically designed to tackle cybercrime, fraud, and economic crime will reinforce the UK’s reputation as a world-leading legal centre, the Lord Chancellor will announce tonight (Wednesday 4 July).

  • A new flagship 18 courtroom legal centre providing world-class legal services in the heart of London given go-ahead
  • To be built on the site of Fleetbank House, the court will reinforce the UK’s position as a global legal hub

Developed in partnership with the City of London Corporation and the judiciary, the cutting edge, purpose-built court, which will also deal with business and property work as well as civil cases, will hold 18 modern courtrooms and replace the ageing civil court, Mayor’s and City of London County Court, and City of London Magistrates’ Court. Also included in the court will be a new City of London police station.

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A feasibility study to look at whether a court might be built was announced last October, and now the plan has been given the go-ahead. Speaking to members of the senior judiciary at the Mansion House this evening [4 July], the Lord Chancellor, alongside the Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman, and Lord Chief Justice, will reveal that the court will be built on the site of Fleetbank House in the heart of the City.

English law is currently used in 40% of all global corporate arbitrations, and more than 200 foreign law firms currently have offices in the UK. Revenue generated by legal activities in the UK was worth £31.5bn in 2016, and the top 100 UK law firms generated over £22bn in 2016/17. Built next to some of the world’s leading legal, business and technology firms in the heart of legal London, this court will be a sign to the world that the UK remains the global centre for law and finance.

Lord Chancellor David Gauke said:

The flag of English law is flown in countries across the globe, and London already leads the way as the best place to do business and resolve disputes.

This state-of-the-art court is a further message to the world that Britain both prizes business and stands ready to deal with the changing nature of 21st century crime.

The City of London is the world’s financial centre, hosting an unparalleled cluster of financial, professional, and business services. The City’s legal services offer, clustered around the Temples in the West of the Square Mile, which plays host to more than 17,000 solicitors, is a vibrant centre for international law firms serving their clients across the world.

Commenting on the announcement Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation Catherine McGuinness said:

This is a hugely significant step in this project that will give the Square Mile its second iconic courthouse after the Old Bailey.

Our rule of law is one of the many reasons why London is the world’s most innovative, dynamic, and international financial centre, and this new court will add to our many existing strengths.

I’m particularly pleased that this court will have a focus on the legal issues of the future, such as fraud, economic crime, and cyber-crime.

Fleet Street may historically be known for hosting newspapers, but I believe with this iconic project it will be seen as a world leading centre for legal services and justice for decades to come.

The Government is investing £1 billion in reforming and modernising courts and tribunals, which has already delivered:

  • A fully paperless system in conjunction with Transport for London – which means thousands of cases involving fare evasion are dealt with more swiftly and effectively.
  • An online system which enables court staff to prepare case files and access them digitally in a courtroom during a hearing – saving 68 million pages of paper.
  • The ability for those convicted of minor motoring offences to make their initial plea online. Some 1500 pleas are dealt with online every week. Court staff and the police automatically receive the completed online plea form as soon as the defendant has submitted it, reducing delays.

In the civil courts people can now:

  • Make a small money claim online – with over 3,000 claims issued in the first month, cases moving through more quickly, and user satisfaction over 80% during the pre-launch pilot.
  • Apply for a divorce online – which has cut errors in application forms from 40% to less than 1%, saving people time and trouble during a traumatic time.
  • Apply for probate online – which has also cut errors, sped up the process, and has a satisfaction rate of more than 90%.

Notes to editors:

  • The timeline for building the new court is subject to finalising funding arrangements and securing planning permission. It is expected to be completed in 2025.
  • The proposal for a new court was announced last October by the City of London Corporation, and work on feasibility has now concluded and a location for the court has been set. Funding will be provided by the City of London Corporation and HMCTS.
  • The court will replace the civil court, Mayor’s and City of London County Court, and City of London Magistrates’ Court, which are owned by the City Corporation and which HMCTS operate. |* The Employment Appeal Tribunal that is currently at Fleetbank House will move to the Rolls Building.
  • The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.


There is some irony that the new president  Hon. Justice Saunders of the Caribbean Court of Justice was sworn in at the HoGs conference in Montego Bay yesterday – a court that has been strident in its observations of the failings of the local court to deliver timely decisions. Prime Minister Mia Mottley attending her first HoGs lauded the establishment of the CCJ as an example of how regional countries can leverage regional institutions to effective manage our affairs. Perhaps the time has come…

DPP Charles Leacock Found Guilty

We give credit to Barbados Today for highlighting this grave injustice meted out to Kobia Jamal Robinson by Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock. The idea that a person charged with a crime in Barbados has to wait for three years to have their case heard is embarrassing and wrong.  The fact others have had to be on remand for longer than three years confirms what BU has been commenting for several years – see Tales from the Courts.

We have two issues the authorities must resolve with dispatch:

  • A heavy backlog of cases in the Barbados Courts
  • A Director of Public Prosecutions who is unable to ready cases for trial in a timely manner despite the backlog of cases

A reminder to Leacock – JUSTICE delayed is JUSTICE denied!


From Magistrate to Judge, You be the Judge

Name of the author withheld by BU
Madam Justice Pamela Beckles former post vacant left vacant

Madam Justice Pamela Beckles former post vacant left vacant

I guess I am very lucky and not on remand but can anyone tell me what is the point of promoting a magistrate to a judge and not having a magistrate appointed to replace the previous one.   Admittedly mine is a civil matter but it has been adjourned from last October to January and from then no magistrate.  Where is the common sense in that ?    So we have no Chief Magistrate who could fill in either.

Something is very wrong here.

The Caribbean Court of Justice – A Cautionary Legal Tale

It is most unusual and judicially improper for a Court to publish its judgment in the public media before it has been delivered and communicated to the litigants and their legal representatives. This is what the Caribbean Court of Justice did in the Caribbean Court of Justice Civil Appeal Case No. BBCV2014/002 – Systems Sales Limited v. Arlette O. Browne-Oxley and Sonja Patsena Suttle – a procedure that has never occurred in the Supreme Court of Barbados since our independence.

The Judgment which on the face of it reads “The Judgment” of Justices Wit, Hayton and Anderson which was delivered by The Honourable Mr. Justice Hayton on the 25th day of November 2014 was never read nor delivered to the parties or their Attorneys-at-Law on the 25th November 2014. The Attorneys-at-Law for the Applicant received an electronic copy of the Judgment on the 26th November 2014 and the signed hard copy was received by the Applicant from the sub-Registry of the Court (the Barbados Supreme Court Registry) on the 4th December 2014. Strangely enough, a media release number 28-2014 dated the 25th November 2014 was issued by the Court to the media and published on that same day. It is to be noted that the “media release” the electronic copy and the signed hard copy all bear the date 25th November 2014 even though they are not identical documents. What has therefore resulted is that the Court has published three different official judgments on the same case.

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Tales from the Courts – No Excuses Says Former Judge XX

Justice delayed is justice denied [William Penn]

For several years BU has been ridiculed by many for making the observation Barbados law courts are stymied by a backlog of cases and unable to dispense justice in a timely manner.  BU is on record advocating that QCs function as deputy judges to help with building efficiency in the courts.

The Barbados Bar Association (BA) in a report carried in the local media titled Go with acting judges confirms BU’s message. The article quotes the BA wanting more judges to help reduce the backload and is calling for government to increase filing and application fees both in the Supreme Court and the Registration Department. The BA’s grievances were addressed in a letter directed to Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler. The letter also made the point the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had on several occasions reprimanded both the Court of Appeal and the High Court for the unacceptable amount of time it took for cases to be tried and judgements given’. Does any of this looks familiar?

BU states for the record we are against the BA’s recommendation to increase filing and application fees. At a time of unprecedented financial crisis in Barbados such a move is bound to reduce access to justice by the poor, tipping the scale further in favour of the well off. What manner of people are to want to implement a pricing system to hinder ordinary citizens access to justice?

Are we about selling justice now?

Tales from the Courts – Sir Marston Gibson a FAILURE XIX

It was with more than passing interest that BU read the Nation article of 15 January 2014 entitled SLOW JUDGEMENTS HEAVILY CRITICIZED.

It is somewhat daunting to note that the Nation has only now espoused this cause as the result of cross-party agreement in the House led by former attorney general, Dale Marshall and supported by the PM and the present attorney general. This, after all, is an issue that BU – Tales from the Courts – has been resolute in airing for some years now and it appears that it is only now that a leading economist has publicly pointed out the obvious, that the demise of the justice system is almost completely responsible for the fall off and withdrawal of off-shore and foreign investment, that it now has been raised. Although, to be fair, last year in Toronto, the PM did serve notice that the justice system and courts had to be sorted out. But still his warning appears to have fallen in deaf ears and he himself has not done anything since.

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An Ex-Cop’s View of Darwin Dottin

Wade Gibbons

Wade Gibbons

The following was extracted from Wade Gibbons’ Facebook Page. He is a reporter for Barbados Today and is a former policeman.

Some excellent administrative and proactive moves by acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith. He is going to make a terrific leader of the RBPF, a position he should have held a long time ago.

The phones of innocent law-abiding Barbadians could not have been tapped by Dimwit Dottin without the knowledge and participation of some in the Special Branch which Dottin once headed. It was an ongoing criminal act by Dottin, deserving of imprisonment and not pension, and as such the hierarchy of that specialised department should have squealed on the thug and not be drawn into his criminality. No commissioner of police – an incompetent one at that – can compel a police officer to commit a crime.

If the force is to be purged of Dottin’s criminal presence, then of necessity some house-cleaning has to be done in departments such as the Special Branch. One transferred from that department is as close to me as a brother and I love him as such but wrong is wrong. Now that the Dottin cancer has been removed the organs of the body should gradually start to heal and return to a state of normalcy. Full praise to Commissioner Griffith. May God guide your every move.

Tales from the Courts – Madam Justice Cornelius Delivers on the Dr. Richard Ishmael v QEH Matter, FINALLY Part XIV

Madam Justice Cornelius

Madam Justice Cornelius

We see the ruling on Dr Ishmael has at last been given by the courts. The Nation has published the decision which is highly unflattering to the MoH and the QEH. BU refers readers to the recent Tales From The Courts, where some of the issues discussed are similar and pertinent to this edition. The decision on this particular matter was reserved by Madam Justice Cornelius since 30 March 2011, a period of 818 days, or 2 years 2 months and 26 days. INEXCUSABLE!!!

It is not for the judge to take into consideration that Dr Ishmael is back at the QEH. The judge’s SOLE concern, other than the constitutional rights of the litigants, ought to have been the fact that there was a matter before her that might seriously, fatally and detrimentally affect the health of patients at the QEH. Indeed, this might be considered a matter affecting public policy and therefore to be accorded the urgency of any public policy matter. Instead, Madam Justice Cornelius took almost 2.25 YEARS to provide a judgement that ought to have been produced in a maximum, given the potential prejudice that delay would cause, of 60 days.

Thus, has Madam Justice Cornelius BETRAYED the trust and best interests of the people of Barbados and for that she deserves to be instantly suspended pending the outcome of an enquiry to dismiss her. Additionally, judges are expected to render decisions within 60 days, with an outside limit of 90 days for complex cases. Regardless of the circumstances between Dr Ishmael and the QEH, Madam Justice Cornelius has egregiously and improperly breached the Constitution.

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Police Investigation Involving High Ranking Officers Questioned

Updated 05 September 2013
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Barbados Today published the story that former COP has formally handed over to COP Griffith and withdrawn from court matter against the Police Service Commission.  Included in the report is alleged authorization of wiretapping by Dottin.

Read report: Darwin Dottin officially hands over reins of police force

  • Letter sent to Commissioner Darwin Dottin by the Police Service Commissionparts I,II

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Commissioner Darwin Dottin Leaves…

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

News reaching BU indicates that Commissioner Darwin Dottin has been sent on administrative leave. Given the recent development that a Deputy Commissioner was being selected without the input from Dottin provided a clue that sanction against Dottin was in the offing. A few weeks ago we also learned that Dottin had to return from vacation because his recommendation of the person to act while he was on leave was declined by the Public Service Commission.

Stay tuned!

Compensation Fund: Another Screw-up By the Barbados Bar Association

Barry Gale QC, President of the BA

Barry Gale QC, President of the BA

BU has been able to access the audited financial report of the Bar Association (BA) relative to the Compensation Fund. BU notes that the fund holds in excess of $2 million. The authority for the Fund is to be found at Part VIII of the Legal Professions Act Cap. 370A of the Laws of Barbados.

Briefly, the Act states:

  1. The Fund is the property of the BA and must be paid into a separate bank account to the credit of the BA to be known as “the Attorneys-at-law Compensation Fund”.
  1. Every attorney-at-law is required, when a Practicing Certificate is issued to him, to pay to the Registrar his/her annual contribution to the Fund, without which no Practicing Certificate will be issued.
  1. “50. (1) Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the Bar Association that any person has sustained loss in consequence of dishonesty on the part of an attorney-at-law or any clerk or servant of an attorney-at-law in connection with that attorney-at-law’s practice as an attorney-at-law or in connection with any trust of which that attorney-at-law is a trustee, then, subject to the provisions of this section, the Association may, if it thinks fit, make a grant to that person out of the Fund for the purpose of relieving or mitigating that loss.”

A few points to ponder from the reading of the posted financials.

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Update: Leroy Parris v BLP, Nation and Barbados Advocate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice

In the interest of sharing all information received about any matters which BU has reported on, we have been advised and updated on the issue of the Parris v BLP and Nation and Barbados Advocate as follows:

Mr Hal Gollop QC filed an action for defamation against the Nation which pre-dates the Parris action. The law firm of Carrington and Sealy acts for the Nation and Mr Vernon Smith QC is acting for Mr Gollop.

The essence of the complaint is that on January 07, 2013, the Nation captured and published the photograph which is the subject of dispute. Reasonable conclusion, the Nation was the author and the holder of copyright of the photograph. The BLP subsequently used the photograph and caption in their campaign. Thus, Mr Gollop has also advanced a claim of conspiracy against the Nation and the BLP.

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Leroy Parris v BLP, Nation and Barbados Advocate: Chief Justice Gibson Produces a What the Hell Moment

Barbadians were treated recently to the news that the enigmatic Chairman of CLICO Holdings Barbados Leroy Parris who was deposed when the bottom fell out of the CLICO parent company in Trinidad has filed a legal action against the Nation, Barbados Advocate and Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Parris would not have made the top 200,000th popular person list in Barbados prior to his recent court action. Now that he has filed the action his position is likely to slide to 250,000th.

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AG’s Lament

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite

The Attorney-General of Barbados is the primary legal advisor to the Government of Barbados – Wikipedia

Good luck to Barry Gale QC who defeated ‘pooch skinning’ Alair Shepherd for the position of President of the Barbados Bar Association (BA). Not sure if outgoing president Andrew Pilgrim was able to achieve anything of note except to attain the status of Queens Counsel which lawyers are willing to ‘die’ for it seems.

There was a time when individuals worked hard because there was a consciousness that it was the right thing to do. How ones legacy might be defined was an inevitable consequence. Truth be told in defence of today’s incumbents which see a level of mediocrity hitherto unknown, it may simply be a matter of (in)competence.

Former Attorney General David Simmons is highly regarded by the legal fraternity and the general public. BU however has always been halting in our praise for two reasons. When Simmons demitted the office of Chief Justice (under duress) the delivery of justice caused by the weight of a heavy case load and an inefficient Court Registry should have been the performance indicators which painted his legacy and NOT the quality of his decisions. It was insightful to read Barry Gale’s comments soon after assuming the office of President of the BA concerning the court system. In summary, a mess!

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Vernon Smith QC Suggests Barbados Bar Association Illegally Charging VAT on Member Subscriptions

Vernon Smith QC

Vernon Smith QC

BU read the Barbados Today article with  interest which outlined Vernon Smith QC reaction to being characterised a delinquent Barbados Bar Association (BA) member. The BU family is reminded of the list which was circulated by the BA and posted to BU in a blog by Caswell Franklyn – Defaulting Lawyers.

BU has posited a view that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados concerning lawyers who opt not to pay BA fees and is therefore a nullity ab initio. Vernon Smith’s view has also been discussed.  Now that he has come public in his defense it provides the opportunity for the BU family to explore the matter further.

Vernon Smith is quoted in the article as follows:

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Tales From The Courts XII – Barbados Bar Membership Revisited – Registrar and Sir David Simmons, Wilfred Abrahams Exposed

Update: The Nation newspaper has issued a public apology to Sir David Seale and Caswell Franklyn in today’s  edition. It turns out that it was our own Caswell who penned the Guest Column and NOT Sir David

In a recent blog BU investigated the issue of attorneys who opt not to be members of the Barbados Bar Association (“BA”) on the basis that the Legal Profession Act contravenes the Constitution of Barbados and is, as a result, a nullity ab initio.

The almost unanimous opinions expressed by BU’s legal eagles was that the Legal Profession Act would be found in law to be a nullity ab initio.

BU has received a letter from attorney-at-law Wilfred A. Abrahams to the President of the Barbados Bar Association dated April 12, 2003 in which he gives notice that the attorneys of the chambers of which he is head, Aegis Chambers, intend to object to appearing in court with any attorney who has not submitted themselves to the Legal Profession Act and, inter alia, accusing these dissenting attorneys of committing an illegal act by practicing law – See Letter sent by Abrahams to the Bar – part 1 and Part 2

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QC Showed Judge His Silk

Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
Alair Shepherd QC

Alair Shepherd QC

The behaviour of a Queens Counsel toward a female judge, in Barbados, is another manifestation of the disrespect being displayed toward our women. According to published reports, the Queens Counsel demonstrated his displeasure with the judge by lifting his robe, backing the judge bending over and inviting her to kiss a part of his anatomy.

This single act reveals that disrespect for our women is now rampant at all social and educational levels. We will remain in the forefront of calling for our women to be respected but there is a bigger picture emerging here. Our Caribbean societies have always elevated some professions beyond godlike status. The medical and legal professions have been the chief beneficiaries of such adulation.

While we have had the occasional professional problems with our doctors, we suggest that such incidents have been for from widespread. We can therefore, with some objectivity, concur that the medical professional has maintained high professional standards. However we are aware that some will suggest that unprofessional conduct within the medical professional is not usually made public.

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Shanique Myrie Goes to Court

Shanique Myrie

Shanique Myrie

The Shanique Myrie matter is currently being heard before the Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) and is being followed closely by BU. Frankly it appears both sides have been …  By showing itself to be an itinerant court it shows how the CCJ is configured to deliver justice in a region which may require such flexibility given our geographic and economic diversity.

Something however has bothered the BU household since the Shanique Myrie vs Barbados matter with  Jamaica subsequently given permission to intervene. While the CCJ has the jurisdiction to hear an original application dealing with the Treaty of Chaguramas, it does not have the jurisdiction to hear an original application dealing with the civil and criminal cases of assault. BU’s view of the matter is that the alleged assault took place in Barbados and therefore must be heard before the Barbados courts.

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What Have You Done Commish?

The following submission was sent to BU on March 9, 2013 but was snared by the spam bucket.

Submitted by Benny
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

I am amazed at the recent public statement by the Commissioner of Police Mr Dottin advising Barbadians to leave their jewellery at home. I do honestly think that this is a testimony  of your inefficiency and the inability of your administration to properly manage the crime situation in this country.

I think that by now you should have realised that managing the Royal Barbados Police Force is more than the manipulation of statistics.  I guess that you cannot give instructions to the effect like a few years ago when you advised that when a house is broken into but nothing is stolen to register a case of disorderly behaviour instead of burglary. because the former would paint a different picture.

On the issue of house breaking when I leave my jewellery home and the thieves decide to break in and take it what would be your advice then to bring my home to the nearest police station or stay home and watch it? Please do not answer because I do believe that your are capable of finding an answer to that.

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Tales From the Courts Part XI: Sir Frederick Smith Attacked by Nation Editorial – when hypocrisy becomes high camp

Sir Frederick Smith

Sir Frederick Smith

BU has read with interest the editorial in the Sunday Sun of 10 March 2012 in which the writer launched an attack on Sir Frederick Smith QC for comments made about the Barbados judiciary. BU holds no brief for Sir Frederick but one is left to question the motive of the ‘editor’ of what is regarded as the most widely circulated newspaper in Barbados.

BU’s research confirms that in the mid-90s Sir Frederick delivered a speech to a legal body, an event attended by judges and members of the Bar from throughout the Caribbean. At that time, Sir Frederick stated, inter alia, “It appears to me that judges in Barbados think they have a constitutional right to be stupid.” Sir Frederick is consistent – unlike the “editor” of the Nation.

The tenor of the “editorial” suggests someone has an axe to grind. Could it be there is some fire rage being directed at Sir Frederick Smith because he was chosen to deliver the eulogy for retired judge, Lindsay Worrell, the father of Mr Justice Randall Worrell.

The editorial gets off to a pompous start:

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Tales from the Courts Part X – John Doe v. Sgt Vernon Waithe

BU has received the following proceedings which should be of interest. The Complaint is part of a filed proceeding and in our view it falls into the public domain. However, BU will not comment on this matter, which has been adjourned until June 27, 2013 and is before Magistrate Deborah Holder.

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No Real Remorse in the Satan Soul

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

If the word “Satan” is rightly defined to represent the evil actions of humans, the word would most appropriately identify:

He who displays a propensity for robbing, he who displays a habit of bombing and invading, he who builds his wealth on enslaving, he who takes delight in torturing and lynching, he who is most cunning and deceiving, and he who robs a people and then penalizes them for not adjusting to economic handcuffs and legal straitjackets.

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Manifesto WARNING!

2013 BLP Manifesto

2013 BLP Manifesto

The manifestos of the DLP and BLP have been released about ONE week before the E-Day of February 21, 2013. Generally people pay very little attention to manifestos in most countries. A manifesto may be described as a political tool to get political parties elected. Although we know they are usually littered with pie in the sky promises, BU had hoped this one time around, given the unprecedented challenges which confront service-oriented economies like Barbados, the electorate would have been wooed and teased by a vision articulated by both political parties (espoused in the manifestos).  How do they plan to navigate the economic and social milestones currently strewn in our path? Why is it this one time our people could not have been convinced to turn-down the political rhetoric, and instead, engage in a level of collaboration hitherto never experienced in democratic Barbados? As a highly regarded small predominantly Black country here was an opportunity created by the prevailing economic challenge for us to lead; a role which is not unfamiliar in the post-Independence period.

Kudos  to the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) for being ‘first’ out of the blocks with their Manifesto launch – a sarcastic comment you ask?. Although a trivial point, it has not escaped the notice of BU that apart from the first page which features an aggressive air-brushed image of Owen Arthur reflected on The Team for A Better Tomorrow, Mia Mottley’s photo appears in the most prominent position. To those with an ‘eye’ for these things it is called subliminal advertising and it is designed to draw the eye and create an impression in the minds of the electorate.

During the stewardship of the DLP government (2008-2013) a few issues have always occupied the attention of the BU family. Heading the list is GOVERNACE! On Thursday an increasingly cynical electorate will have to decide which party leads (by a nose) on the issue of Freedom of Information (FOI) and Integrity Legislation (IL) among others.

Related Link: Manifesto WATCH

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The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part V

Related Links:

Justice for ALL!

Submitted by Loss Adjuster
Justice for all

Justice for all

This is some dynamite!!!! When will justice be served and these dishonest political demons be handcuffed, foot chained and have their bare asses dragged from Bridgetown to Port Ferdinand for they continuous corrupt deeds. There are many other Violet Beckles’ in this country but the only reason you are not hearing their stories is because they were either poisoned away like they tried to do to me!!!

Do I hear you Mr Marshall…Mr Payne!!! Any Thornhills…??? And the rest of them are in the Psychiatric Hospital better known as the mental, watching the green pastures, drooling at the mouth and god knows where else thanks to these so called Lawyers who are our Politicians ..or did someone say fu**??*%%#@ Liars. Does the Barrack Affair, the Clico Mess, Gems of Barbados saga amongst others not put the nail in the coffin for these mother fu&*##@#**.

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The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part IV

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The links to the images in the Slide Show are provided below. To the lawyers,  we are not in a court of law.

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Dottin, Pack Your Bags Please!

Submitted by St. George’s Dragon
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin continues to dig himself and the Royal Barbados Police deeper into a hole on the matter of Derrick Crawford and the wrongful accusation of double rape.

Not content with saying he did not think Crawford was innocent, he is now reported in the 28th December Barbados Today as saying effectively, that Crawford got off because all Black people look alike to Whites. Is this man for real?

Wait until the British press gets hold of that statement – Barbados reputation will be in further tatters.

Is DPP Charles Leacock on the Golf Course While An Innocent Man Awaits JUSTICE?

Charles leacock, DPP

BU continues to follow the story – Rapists, Commissioner Darwin Dottin and the Integrity of the Evidence – of a poor Black man accused of raping two English visitors to Barbados. That the story has taken an interesting twist must be termed an understatement. Last week in an unusual occurrence for Court systems around the world, the two women raped appeared in open Court to argue that the man Commissioner Darwin Dottin says there is incontrovertible evidence they believe to be innocent.

To update this matter from the Barbados Court: the case has been adjourned until December 13, 2012 to await direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock. BU sincerely expects that given the extraordinary harm this story is having and will continue to have on the reputation of Barbados and its people, that decision makers are giving this matter their urgent attention. BU would be very disappointed to learn that DPP Charles Leacock has continued his weekend routine of being on the golf course at Sandy Lane or Westmorland when his urgent feedback is required to resolve this matter. Why the hell did the Magistrate feel compel to adjourn this matter until the 13 December 2012?

To those who believe it is not an urgent matter, a scan of the widely circulated UK press The Telegraph shows its lead story in the World Section as – How two British women raped in Barbados declared their ‘attacker’ innocent. The story is currently listed in the newspaper’s Top Ten most read stories.

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Victory for Elwood Watts?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

While I am extremely happy that Mr. Elwood Watts has prevailed against the injustice that is inherent in the Public Service: I am concerned that the resolution of this matter would create another set of problems.

I have no more knowledge of the facts of the case than what I have read in reports in the Nation. However, it is my view that the outcome flies in the face of the very same principle that Mr. Watts was seeking to address. My understanding is that the Chief Personnel Officer through her lawyer informed the court that Mr. Watts would be appointed Senior Crown Counsel. That decision might please an extremely hardworking and deserving Elwood Watts but also, it would let others off the hook for their roles in this shameful affair.

My first concern is how did the recommendation, for the original appointment, reach the Governor-General without first going through the mandatory procedure set out in the Recruitment and Employment Code for the Public Service. The code, at paragraph 2 states:

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Tales From The COURTS VIII – Justice Elneth Kentish v Businessman Joseph Jordan

Joseph Jordan and Justice Elneth Kentish (inset) – Photo credit: Nation Newspaper

On Wednesday November 7, the Nation published a report headlined “COURT TWIST”. It recounted how Miss Elneth Kentish, one of our battery of so-called “High Court Judges” had recused herself from a case before her, on the basis that she herself would be suing one of the parties in the case for defamation, presumably arising out of the case. The details of the case, Coach House Limited v Joseph Jordan III, are not relevant here.

However, what is relevant is that, according to the Nation report (and the Appeal that has, it is alleged, since been filed) Miss Kentish, after having recused herself, went on to issue an order in the case. So, the allegations of the Nation and the Appeal being correct, she removes herself from the case and then issues an order in the case. Does this make sense to anyone – and we mean both and legal common sense.

And just what would have been so wrong in Miss Kentish (or our incompetent Registrar) writing to counsel on both sides in advance of their appearance before her, stating that she was recusing herself and maybe even copying them her letter to the CJ, so that they did not turn up in court and charge their clients for so doing for four hours AT LEAST of their time?

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Acting Crown Counsel Elwood Watts Asks High Court to Block the Appointment of Attorney at Law Alison Burke

Chief Justice Marston Gibson, heads the Judicial and Legal Services Commission

The following extracted from the Sunday Sun September 23, 2012:

“A High Court is being asked to block the appointment of a Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). In an unprecedented legal development, attorney at law Elwood Watts, who acted as Crown Counsel in the DPP’s office for the past six years, is seeking an injunction against the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Marston Gibson and includes Appeal Court Justice Sandra Mason and High Court Justice Maureen Crane-Scott.

Attorney at law Alison Burke, who was recently admitted to the Bar, was to take up the permanent appointment as Crown Counsel effective September 1. But in his court filings challenging the decision of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission to ratify Burke’s appointment, Watts has complained that the position of Crown Counsel was never advertised as required by law. As a result, the former police sergeant who has been on secondment to the DPP’s office, said he never had a chance to secure the appointment.

Reports indicated that Burke, who was attached to the Ministry of Health as a staff nurse prior to her appointment, never had any experience in court proceedings. A date is to be set for hearing of the injunction.”

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How Is CJ Gibson Doing?

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice (l) Andrew Pilgrim, President of Barbados Bar Association

Why is the criminal justice systems in Barbados so dysfunctional? Can you imagine they are people being held on remand for over four years, without being charge of crime? Each visit to court police prosecutor D. Cumberbatch will intimidate them into entering guilty plea for crimes they never committed.

You should take a look at a defendant Earl Victor arrested for a robbery he never committed and has been held without charge for almost 5 years. It’s about time we notified Amnesty International, and The US State Department to change its aid commitment to Barbados.

Nora (received via email)

The appointment of CJ Gibson – selected from outside the inner ring – was welcomed by BU. If the delivery of justice has to fit a definition which says justice delayed is justice denied then the backlog of cases reported to be in the thousands before Gibson’s appointment represents a sad tale. It is one year since CJ Gibson’s appointment and there is no noticeable improvement in the delivery of justice from our Court System.

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Tales From The Courts – Part V

Justice delayed is Justice denied!

Instead of touching on incidents that have actually happened, this latest edition of Tales From The Courts focuses on a developing international scandal that may involve the Barbados courts.

In the last month, the financial world has been rocked by evidence of LIBOR fixing by Barclays Bank. LIBOR is the London Inter Bank Offered Rate. The scandal in the making has led to the resignation of both the UK chairman and the UK chief executive of Barclays Bank and the setting up of a parliamentary enquiry in the UK involving, not just of Barclays, but of all banks. Last week Barclays was fined £290 million for LIBOR rigging.

This, however, is not just a UK problem, but an international one. There are ongoing investigations in the USA – to which the Barbados economy is pegged and in the UK and there is every likelihood of criminal prosecutions for certain people and massive fines resulting.

The scandal now has taken a turn and involved Canada and the Canadian courts, where the Royal Bank of Scotland is seeking to have a court order for the discovery of documents and evidence from a senior judge set aside on the basis that it breaches the Canadian Constitution (in Canada) and the Data Protection Act 2000 (in the United Kingdom). It is doubtful if this legal tactic on the part of Royal Bank of Scotland will succeed, given that all the other banks subjected to the Canadian court order are complying.

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Bar Association President Andrew Pilgrim Serving Two Masters

Andrew Pilgrim, President of the Barbados Bar Association

… we decided to approach Andrew Pilgrim, well known dramatist and President of the Bar Association for his view…

Bajan Reporter

The above was extracted from an article posted by Ian Bourne on his websitePresident of the Barbados Bar Association sees special Unit for Raul Garcia as Tax Inefficient – Let the former Convict live and work here!. What snagged the attention of BU was not the substantive issue highlighted by the article but the way Andrew Pilgrim was introduced. Whether Bourne realized, it he reminded BU of a growing concern we have about Andrew Pilgrim and his role as President of the Bar Association. To add to the rub BU got sight of a document which features Pilgrim in an upcoming TV-series. 

BU is fully supportive of the Arts and our concern should not be seen as being against The Soap Opera Project. We wish the Caribbean Film Festival all the success. BU has been  an advocate for this government to get more aggressive in its effort to support the cultural and creative sector. BU continues to monitor the passage of the Cultural Industries Bill and will not attempt to muddy the waters at this stage although we remain agitated at the agendas being played out.

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A Crime Whose ENORMITY Is Without Parallel In Human History

Submitted by Ras Jahaziel

Blacks Still searching for equal rights and justice in 2012


What do we tell our children about the cause for the shameful condition of Africans today? How do we explain our present dependency on other races to feed us, clothe us, and employ us? How do we continue to say that slavery is past and yet even in the twenty-first century SLAVE-TRAPPERS, CHAINS, AND PRISON CELLS STILL HAUNT THE PATH OF OUR PEOPLE? Can we afford to forget the past? or should we use it as a road-map to measure how far we have come today?

Watch the Video if you dare!

Tales From The COURTS – Part II

Madam Justice Kaye Goodridge

BU recently commenced its series, Tales From The Courts, a sort of judicial equivalent to Tales From The Crypt and equally gruesome.

We started the series in an effort to highlight a judicial system in terminal decline that lacks any credibility anywhere, a Chief Justice whose efforts to correct this are being constantly obstructed and frustrated by appointees from a previous administration and a Government that surely MUST now step in and aggressively support the Chief Justice and fire or discipline any and all who seek to obstruct him in the exercise of his office.

BU also invited private and confidential e-mails from its readers on their own experiences with the Justice System and is now following leads and verifying information on submissions. If we find there to be merit in them, we will name and shame without compunction.

We have also opted to follow up the progress of stories that we had reported on previously, but had chosen not to go into details on then, due to the fact that they were before the courts at the time. However, what we discovered dismayed the BU household to such an extent that whether or not they are before the Courts, they demonstrate a degree of incompetence by the courts that is frankly shocking. Due to this, we hold that these stories are of public interest and refuse to defer to anybody that uses convention as a shield behind which to hide their own incompetence.

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CCJ Justices Condemn Barbados JUDICIARY

CCJ Justices

During the recent sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Barbados, BU has received information from a credible source that the CCJ justices met with Barbados’ judges and expressed to them their displeasure and dismay at the state of the Barbados courts. While the CCJ placed all the blame at the feet of the Barbados Judiciary, BU feels that the Registry must share this blame equally.

The source of the massive build-up of 3,500 cases that have remained unheard for years, or part-heard for years or on which judgements have been undelivered (reserved) for years stems from the time of the appointment of Sir David Simmons as chief justice, it can be revealed.

Prior to the appointment of Sir David Simmons, cases were motored through the courts by the lawyers themselves, who had to answer to their clients for delays or a failure to adequately prosecute matters.

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History Will Be The Judge Of Former Chief Justice Sir David's Decision To Break His Silence On The Refusal Of Government To Extend His Tenure

Former Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons

It is no secret BU has developed a good relationship with some members of the legal fraternity. Today’s Sunday Sun reports that former CJ Sir David Simmons plans to reveal ‘shocking’ details about the refusal of the government to extend his tenure has prompted a ‘BU Op-ed’ from one of our legal sources.

Former Chief Justice of Barbados  Sir David Simmons has broken his silence and in an interview reported in today’s Sunday Sun, “is promising to reveal “SHOCKING” details of the Government’s refusal to extend his tenure as the Island’s top judicial officer two years ago “.

In addition, Sir David has promised he would “soon tell all to the nation regarding the decision to turn down his request “. He is further quoted as threatening:  “When I reveal all the facts in due course after the inquiry, I promise that it will be clear that it was a political decision. I have a lot more to say and documents to produce that will shock the people of this country .”

This new stand about to be taken by Simmons is both surprising and shocking for the following reasons:

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Notes From a Native Son: Is Our Judiciary Out of Control?

Hal Austin

Ever since Gary Becker won the Nobel Prize for Economics, the economic analysis of law has risen on the curriculum of the leading law schools. I am even told reliably that the Wooding School has recently introduced a financial module for young trainee lawyers. But, apart from satisfying the curiosity of those with an interest in the multi-disciplinary subject of law and economics, it is important because it focuses on the very core issues which underpin not only business law, but the very rules which act as the permafix to our social order.

Property rights, the efficiency of markets, contract law, and more have been analysed in detail ever since Ronald Coase developed his theory in his essay: The Problem of Social cost, in 1960. Since then others have entered the space, including US Federal judge Richard Posner (Economic Analysis of Law), Steven Shavell (Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law), and David D. Friedman (Law Order: An Economic Account).

Although law and economics focuses principally on the private legal system, including tort law, stretching from product liability to medical negligence, it also has a relevance on criminal law and the efficient enforcement of law as a public good. But the issue is of more than just academic interest. It is central to the uncontrollable sentencing that we see almost every day in local magistrates’ courts, the worst since the days of Guyanese Lennox Perry who sat on the bench in the 1960s. What we have now is an undeclared war on young people, black men in particular, with the passive conspiracy of the professional middle class and the rest of the judicial system.

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Notes From a Native Son: Is Barbados a Failed State?

Hal Austin

Chief justice Marston Gibson has recently slapped down the Barbados Bar Association, the lawyers’ trade union, for its impertinence in questioning how he does his job. It did not come a minute too soon. There is a culture of elitism in Barbados in which some professionally and socially well-connected people feel, as if by nature, they have a right to be excepted from the normal courtesies. It is an arrogance which has emerged to substitute for substance in other areas of their lives, such as the poverty of progressive ideas and of cultural understanding.

But, and it is relevant to the issues I want to raise in this blog, within the legal profession there is an absence of any significant liberal tradition in Caribbean (Barbadian) legal thought. I have raised this issue before to much disdain. Like the societies they regulate, what passes for legal thought is based on a Victorian social conservatism, which pre-dated human rights theory, and in which outdated practices such as hanging still play a central role in the legal imagination and, as a direct result, the idea of criminal justice.

Two dominant influences shape our deeply conservative criminal law tradition: the so-called Westminster model (lawmaking), based on the UK’s parliamentary tradition, and the common law model, based again on the England and Wales tradition of statute and case law. Linking both these traditions is the doctrine of the rule of law, the principles rooted in the Magna Carta, which stipulate that the state must have legitimate grounds for depriving a citizen of her/her liberty and right to property. One hybrid political position best exemplifies this tradition, that of attorney general.

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Update: Registrar Exposed To Action For Defamation By Senior Lawyers

Attorney at law Hal Gollop, one of six top lawyers in Barbados not registered

Earlier this month BU posted the blog Registrar And Registry Exposed To Action For Defamation By Senior Lawyers. Several prominent attorneys-at-law saw their names omitted from the Official Gazette of December 29, 2011, proof that they are registered to practice their profession in Barbados. Among them: Sir Frederick Smith Q.C., Mr Edmund  King Q.C., Mr Maurice King Q.C., Mrs Beverley Walrond Q.C., Mr Hal Gollop, Mr Vernon Smith Q.C. BU sources advised then that letters were dispatched to the Registrar demanding immediate redress.

Again usual BU sources have advised that the affected lawyers – their silk and prominence notwithstanding – have not been able to provoke a response from the Registrar. To those who are forced to deal with the Registrar a lack of response is not a surprise. As a consequence several of the lawyers affected are drafting proceedings against the Registrar and the damages lodged will likely be significant. Why the Registrar would be lethargic in dealing with correcting the error and or responding to the learned counsel appears to be just plain ignorant. The inaction is likely to burden and already congested court system.

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Free Raul ‘Coronell’ Garcia, The Man With No Country

Raul Garcia

BU was asked by the family to publish the following message  extracted from the Free Raul ‘Coronell’ Garcia!! The man with no country Facebook Page to highlight the plight of Edilberto Coronell Munoz: – “Today makes 25 days that my uncle Raul Garcia is on a hunger strike at Dodd’s Prison, where they recently placed him into solitary confinement e to the strike. I’m including a few links that tell the story”Juan Garcia Jr

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Registrar And Registry Exposed To Action For Defamation By Senior Lawyers

Attorney at law Hal Gollop, one of six top lawyers in Barbados not registered with the Supreme Court of Barbados - Photo Credit: Bajan Reporter

The Official Gazette of December 29, 2011 published the list of attorneys-at-law registered with the Supreme Court of Barbados with effect from January 31, 2011. Many practicing attorneys have been omitted from that list. These include certain senior counsel and, indeed, members of the inner bar of both local and international reputation. Among them:

Sir Frederick Smith Q.C., Mr Edmund  King Q.C., Mr Maurice King Q.C., Mrs Beverley Walrond Q.C., Mr Hal Gollop, Mr Vernon Smith Q.C.

As a result, all these attorneys-at-law have been defamed by the Registrar, as the failure to include their names on the list implies that they have either been disbarred or that they are deceased. And it looks as if the Registrar is likely to be sued for defamation, as BU has learned that letters giving notice of legal action have been sent to the Registrar.

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Crime Punishment And Employment In Barbados

Submitted by Yardbroom

Crime Stats Canada

By way of introduction I offer you one view of a psychological perspective on why people commit crime; it is not a definitive one by any means but it is certainly worthy of some consideration.  “Every human behaviour is done to serve a certain important psychological goal including the crimes people commit.  What seems irrational from the outside like crime is actually an attempt to do something completely rational like reaching a certain psychological goal.

For example if a child felt inferior during his childhood then there is a big possibility that he will strive for superiority as an adult.  Now what if that child didn’t manage to achieve his goal using the normal ways such as academic or financial success?  At this point he might decide to become superior by being dangerous or in other words by becoming a criminal.”

If we accept that psychological factors, during human development influence behaviour.  We could then look for other elements, in this instance unemployment.

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Rotarian Chief Justice! What Was He Thinking?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

In 1998, a panel of Law Lords took the unprecedented decision to set aside a ruling of a differently constituted panel of judges of the House of Lords because of the appearance of bias, in an appeal brought by Senator Pinochet, former president of Chile.

The Government of Spain was seeking Pinochet’s extradition from the United Kingdom to face trial for acts that he was alleged to have committed when he was head of state of Chile. He pleaded that he had immunity from prosecution because of his status of head of state when the acts were alleged to have taken place, and that was upheld by the lower courts. To make a long story short, the lower courts’ decision was overturned paving the way for the continuation of extradition proceedings.

Subsequent to the first appeal it was discovered that the wife of one of the panel of Law Lords, Lord Hoffman, was employed by Amnesty International who sought and was granted permission to be an intervener in the Appeal. Lord Hoffman was not a member of Amnesty International, but he had raised funds to assist them to acquire a building.

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Workers Suffer While Inept Labour Department Does Nothing

By Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

I refer to an article, “Beef Up Unit! Unionist wants Labour Department revamped,” which appeared in the Saturday Sun of December 31, 2011.

In that article, I was quoted as calling for changes to the Labour Department to make it relevant to the needs of workers. When I was interviewed by the reporter, I was hoping that he would bring my concerns to the attention of the Labour Department. It would appear that he did, but the reported responses of the acting Chief Labour Officer, fell far short of what I expected. The Labour Department was made to look like a toothless bulldog. However, this is not the case; the department has teeth but refuses to use them. Rather than use the laws that already exist to protect workers, it seems as though they are waiting for a new set of teeth in the form of the Employment Rights Bill. Meanwhile workers continue to suffer injustice at the hands of unscrupulous employers and the Labour Department chooses to be impotent.

The acting Chief Labour Officer is quoted as saying: “As it currently stands, we can only, if you think that you have been hard done [by], send you to an attorney”. Instead, he should have said, all that we choose to do is send you to an attorney. He has power to enforce the Protection of Wages Act and other pieces of labour legislation, and where appropriate, he can institute criminal proceedings, in his name, against employers who breach the law.

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Did Someone Get Away With Killing Luke Bjerkhamn And Wounding His Father?

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn
Funeral luke Bjerkham

Flashback to the burial of Luke Bjerkham

I have heard a lot of comments about the Director of Public Prosecutions giving Bjerkhamn a slap on the wrist for killing his son. Some have even called the DPP’s integrity into question. While I understand the sense of outrage that is being demonstrated throughout the country, I am not one of those that would jump on the bandwagon without a clear understanding of what transpired.

Persons who have been critical of the DPP’s actions in this case clearly do not know or do not understand the procedure in Barbados. It would appear that their understanding of the law is being influenced by American television programmes. The first problem for the DPP is that his office does not have an investigative arm. He has to rely on the Police to investigate cases and then they would forward their findings to him so that he can decide whether or not to file a charge. The public does not know what is in the police report, so the DPP could very well be taking some undeserved abuse for a situation over which he had no control. Before I can come down on either side, I would have to be privy to the police report.

This case clearly demonstrates that the evidence in matters like this should be made available to the public after the conclusion of the case, and after the time for the appeals process has expired.

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