Lawyers continue to undermine our freedoms

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.

Mia Mottley

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.

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The Legal Fraternity – Fundamental Flaws

The following is an abridge version of a communication received by the blogmaster. To protect the author names of some parties were withheld. In the opinion of the blogmaster the submission reinforces several blogs on the subject of the need for effective regulation to monitor and discipline lawyers in Barbados – David, Blogmaster
Attorney General Dale Marshall

A moral injustice prevails when the legal fraternity within any society can act with callous disregard to ethical principles which it is supposed to operate under and it is not held to account for actions which oppose these rules. Barbados sought to ‘leave its Colonial past behind,’ and has become a Republic but it will remain ‘shackled’ by its own heavy man-made chains, which unbalance the scales of justice if it does not act with enforcing accountability on the country’s legal profession.

Undeniably, a country’s government cannot police personal morals; unarguably, principles and standards under law, which govern the actions and behaviours of lawyers should be kept under vigilant scrutiny by a properly functioning body, that is robust and transparent. 

Significantly, people who suffer at the hands of unscrupulous lawyers, many of whom are women clients undergoing high emotional trauma, are reluctant to speak out, for fear of reprisal by a societal culture of ‘blaming and high religious righteous indignation,’ levelled at the victims.  Therefore, these lawyers in a superior position, take advantage of their victims at a time of high vulnerability who have put trust in them and they abuse that trust. This not only results in financial damage but the emotional cost factor is untold, with substantial injury inflicted on susceptible individuals who have turned to these lawyers for help.  

For those reading and about to take a judgemental position, please ask yourself these questions: if a blind person asked you to escort them across a busy cross road intersection, would you feel right about navigating them into the middle of traffic and abandoning them?  If an anxious child asked you to hold its ice-cream to urgently go to the toilet, would you eat it? These analogies resonate with those in desperate need of legal help, who turn to lawyers in Barbados and in particular, powerless women seeking help.

There is one former prominent lawyer (now deceased) who took on divorce cases, where property was involved, wielded position and power over young women for his own personal and financial gain. His conduct of fraternising with his client was merely reprimanded by one judge in closed court, unchallenged and never reported to the BA by any of his peers; even though, they all were aware of his conduct. Back then, an upcoming ambitious attorney, who is now the present Attorney General, was informed about this lawyer’s unprofessional conduct and client liaisons; but did he report that individual? No. No lawyer wants to report another and would it do any good reporting to the BA so the behaviour continues.  Conversely, more can also be said about abuse of power within other sectors; the exercise of harmful influence over others, who approach business institutions to engage in lawful pursuits only to be forced into relationships with those who head these business entities.

Incumbent upon the Barbados government is addressing, the lack of challenge of this wrongdoing which spills over into an unwritten law, that abuse of position and power is acceptable. This pervasive social view has become entrenched and inherent, written into the subconscious, and into an ‘invisible constitution,’ that those who hold other offices, see it as the natural progression of being empowered, to control others with resulting tangible rewards, thereby functioning under their own circle of ‘self-regulated systems.’  Seeking justice by engaging and soliciting the help of a lawyer or participating in conducting business, should never become a mine field of being preyed upon, exploited nor swindled.

Government ministries are closely tied to the legal fraternity; indeed, several government ministers are lawyers or affiliated to legal firms.  Negotiation and deals can become rather personal; intertwined and often blurred, creating more inequalities in society when there is the absence of accountability of the ethics which guide the legal profession. Within this current atmosphere, abuse of power and trust, and whereby lawyers are not vigorously monitored, all support injustices being solidified, which in turn create a new type of slavery, that is not perpetuated by the White Europeans but an acceptance of the ‘the way things are,’ one which is a social construct, called ‘Black Manipulation.’

A Win for David vs Goliath

Submitted by Chefleur

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.

Little humble me – with NO Degree!

Open Letter to ALL Rh Lawyers on behalf of Stephen Archer

The Barbados Today Editorial of September 26, 2019 reproduced here by request.

Several of these so-called traditional media outlets scrape stories from various social media sites without giving credit, for this reason the blogmaster reluctantly post this editorial.

For years Barbados Underground has been highlighting the ‘malbehaviour’ of lawyers and the dysfunctional justice system – see BU Lawyers in the News Section at the top of the page. In fact when we started the probing of the justice system many condemned this blogmaster as being unpatriotic. Our persistent criticism was interpreted as being negative. This blogmaster has lived to hear Chief Justice Marson Gibson and the Caribbean Court of Appear echo the same views.

Where is the moribund Barbados Bar Association (BBA)?

The name Stephen Archer might mean very little to those outside the circle of any close friends and family members he might have had. But his is a case that cries out for justice. This is yet another situation of an average Barbadian citizen being adversely affected by the type of dubious conduct that can accompany the vulnerable even to the grave.

Tomorrow morning Archer will be laid to rest in the churchyard of St Stephen’s Anglican Church just five months after publicly highlighting the tragic circumstances that befell him. He also drew attention to the representation – or lack thereof – of a well-known Barbadian attorney-at-law. Fifteen days after Archer celebrated his 30th birthday in 1997, a telephone pole fell on him occasioning him significant bodily injury.

Archer was taken to the United States to undergo treatment and physical therapy. While living in Miami, Florida, and now a paraplegic, he became homeless. His leg became infected as a result of his living circumstances and it was later amputated. He subsequently returned to Barbados and an initial hospital visit eventually turned into a four and a half-year residency at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. After leaving the hospital the bed-ridden Archer became a resident at Cyralene Senior Citizens Nursing Home at Accommodation Road, Spooners Hill, St Michael.

The utility company fulfilled its legal obligations to Archer and according to him paid a seven-figure compensation settlement to his attorney-at-law on his behalf. However, Archer revealed to Barbados TODAY in April that he was never given a cheque with his money nor was it ever deposited on his personal account. Despite the small fortune that his unfortunate accident had brought to him, Archer explained then that he still owed the nursing home $20 000 for eight months stay at the facility. He said the lawyer was handling his finances but had not paid any money to the home. “When I came here (nursing home), the idea was to save money to help my sister and fix the house in Cave Hill, but it backfired when the lawyer reduced how much I am getting so I ended up staying here a lot longer than I expected,” Archer revealed then.

Archer’s unfortunate situation was exacerbated as a result of his sister – who had been his main helper – dying in February from cancer. His mother who had initially been his principal caregiver had died from a stroke in 2009 while they were still in the United States. His was a life with little family support. He explained the mental and physical difficulty of being reduced from an independent, active, outgoing individual to one living in solitude and confinement in a bed with the occasional allowance out of his money coming from the lawyer.

With hundreds of thousands of his dollars sitting in the bank account of his lawyer, Archer was later reduced to starting a Help Stephen Archer Facebook page and the launch of a “gofundme” account. During his stay in the nursing home his three-bedroom, one bathroom family house at Well Gap, Cave Hill, St Michael was rendered an empty shell by burglars. Despite facing such immense personal hardship, a still optimistic Archer stated in April: “I am not worried, this is Barbados. In the States, I was homeless, in a wheelchair with maggots on me, but here in Barbados a lot of people know me so hopefully, it is not going to come to that. I have nothing to lose. When you are down the only direction to go is up. So I am waiting.”

Archer’s wait is now over. His direction did not take the upward curve he desired. But there are many questions left unanswered. And who will seek to have them answered? Archer had no children. Chief among those questions: Where is his money? Does his attorney-at-law still have the substantial amount on his own personal bank account? If he does, will he make any attempt to pass it on to existing family members, irrespective of how close or far removed they might be? Why did he not hand over all of Archer’s money when he received it or have it placed on his client’s personal account? Why were payments not made to Cyralene’s Senior Citizens Nursing Home in a proper manner? Does the Barbados Bar Association have any authority – or inclination – to launch an investigation into this matter? Is there any other agency willing to pursue this case? Will this be simply another case of a Barbadian lawyer benefiting from the funds of a client?

Perhaps it is time that in matters such as these, plaintiffs have greater oversight on the actual transaction between the defendant and legal counsel where compensation is due to be paid. Why are cheques written in the name of lawyers and not the clients they represent? Developments in Barbados’ courts over the years would suggest that not writing the plaintiffs’ cheques in the names of their lawyers might be protecting many from themselves.

Of course, none of this is going to help Stephen Archer now. But perhaps some of the mourners who pay their last respects to him tomorrow will ensure they are guarded against such anguish if similar tragedy should ever befall them.


Fee Setting by Legal Profession and other Associations Left Unchecked by Successive Governments

The following was posted to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) website in July 2008. It is not necessary for the blogmaster to cover the below with comments except to say, ‘we not ready’.

See FTC recommendations on page 26 of the document embedded.

In 2007, the Commission began a follow-up inquiry into fee setting in the professions focusing especially on the schedule of legal fees for non-contentious matters.

The Commission had previously found that mandatory fees set by professional associations were in breach of the Fair Competition Act. However it stopped short of making the same finding in regard to non-contentious fees because they were set in statute. The Commission however determined that the schedule of legal fees for attorneys at law, represented a conflict with the principles of fair and open competition as advocated in the Fair Competition Act.

The Commission therefore has formally recommended that an amendment be made to the Legal Profession Act 1997, so that the fees charged for non-contentious matters can be recognised as being provided for reference only, and attorneys wishing to charge above or below these fees, being able to do so without reprisal.

This will resolve the conflict between the two statutes, and should allow for some competition in the legal profession.

See Fee Setting in the Professions II:  Follow-up Report. [pdf]

Closed July 2008

Justice Pamela Beckles Rules COMPULSORY Membership in the Barbados Bar Association is Unconstitutional

Justice Pamela Beckles recently ruled in a matter brought by former Bar president Tariq Khan versus Vonda Pile that compulsory membership in the Barbados Bar Association is unconstitutional. The Bar Association has signaled that the matter will be appealed. The following Barbados Underground blog which highlighted the matter was posted in April of 2013.

Non Membership in the Barbados Bar Association Does Not Preclude a Lawyer’s Right to Practice Law

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

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

BU has been provided with a copy of the letter dated April 4, 2013 by which the Chief Justice finally advised the new Queens Counsel that he had received the Letters Patent that the GG had executed and sent to the CJ some weeks previously, instructing that they be delivered. The GG had also officially informed the new Queens Counsel himself of their appointment, from which time they had the right to put the letters QC after their names. Do not expect Chief Justice Gibson to offer an explanation for the delay.

BU has also been provided with a legal opinion on the matter of mandatory membership of the Barbados Bar Association, on which it has been argued, in essence, that there is a requirement that attorneys who are certified to practice law in Barbados must also be members of the Barbados Bar Association. BU’s legal opinion states that, as such an Act breaches the Constitution, it is a nullity ab initio, as indeed is any law which breaches the Constitution. Otherwise, the Constitution, which requires a two third majority of the House to change it, would be held hostage to the much lower standard of a simple act of parliament, which requires merely a majority. This would compromise the rights of Bajans and infringe their liberties. Pursued, it could also potentially lead away from democracy to dictatorship.

Thus, the list produced recently by the Bar Association of those counsel who have not paid their membership fees, is not relevant to right to practice law. As long as those attorneys have certification (and a complete list is available from the Official Gazette updated yearly) those attorneys have the right to practice that cannot be gainsaid by the Bar Association.

The Bar Association list has been generally interpreted and presented in the Fourth Estate and the blogs as being a denial of rights to practice by those attorneys and BU posts this clarification. The suggestion or implication that these attorneys, provided they have current practice certificates, are not eligible to practice law is potentially legally actionable.

New QCs Wear Silk Instead of Crocus

The blogmaster has many friends who are lawyers, honest and hard working to boot. Like any profession there are a few bad apples that make it bad for the group. In Barbados the lawyer group is visible because it is the dominant profession that comprise the political directorate. Also by the design of how we do business in the country.

Yesterday the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) circulated the embedded communication to its membership which is self explanatory. It was the courteous action for the BBA to take on behalf of the Executive. What the blogmaster has an issue with is how the Rh are QCs selected? We know the QC designation in the past was reserved for lawyers who had demonstrated excellence in the profession over a long period. In summary, one didn’t earn the right to wear ‘silk’ just so.

For ease of reference the blogmaster highlighted three names in red on the document attached to support our scepticism about how QCs are selected in Barbados. Michael Yearwood for example is known mainly for the junior role he plays to Hal Gollop QC in the court, we note Gollop’s QC title was recently acquired. Michael Lashley functioned as a minister for the last ten years and obviously was not permitted to practice law in the period.  What can one say about Monique Taitt? We could have highlight Dribbles as well whose only claim is that he is the husband of the late David Thompson press secretary.

If the blogmaster was a QC we would hang our head in embarrassment after having sight of a few names on the list of those earning the right to wear silk. Clearly the selection process is flawed and is not doing the reputation of the profession any favour. BBA after discharging the obligatory congratulation should raise its voice to question how a few ‘questionable’ lawyers now have permission to wear silk instead of crocus.



The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Popular Perception and the Regional Lawyer

Jeff Cumberbatch – Columnist, Deputy Dean of UWI, Law Faculty, Chairman of the FCT

“You shall not pervert the justice due to the poor in his lawsuit…”Exodus 23:6

“What is the difference between a lawyer and a mosquito?”

“One is a blood-sucking parasite, the other is an insect.”Anonymous

Frequent instances of disbarment, of defalcation, embezzlement, and of sundry other fraudulent conduct in one jurisdiction or another, inordinate delays at all stages of the process, bungled judicial appointments in Trinidad & Tobago, accusations of exorbitant fees charged to the state in Barbados, and even convictions for conspiracy to murder; these are but some of the items of misconduct listed on the rather lengthy charge sheet of the regional legal profession. Naturally, given our penchant for generalization – “All Jamaicans are…” “All men are …”-, these acts of misfeasance and, in some cases, criminality, have served to tarnish the entire profession so that what should be perceived as a noble and prestigious vocation devoted to the service of mankind in its quest for justice and the rule of law in statal affairs has become in some eyes rather a calling for rogues and those given to sharp practice with the property and financial affairs of others.

Of course, none of this is new. Whether justifiably so or not, people have throughout history viewed the profession with disfavour, to such an extent that the barbs that have been written pertaining to lawyers could fill a small library.

Some have the very highest authority. In Luke 11:45-52, in response to one lawyer’s assertion that in accusing the Pharisees of “loving the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces” and likening them unto unmarked graves that people unwittingly walk over, he had also insulted the lawyers, Jesus responded, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs”.

Much later in his history, Henry VI, Part II, Shakespeare put it in the mouth of Dick the Butcher, one of the followers of the anarchist rebel Jack Cade to say, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”, although there is a cogent argument to the effect that this is rather a back-handed compliment to the profession in that it was Cade’s wish to disrupt law and order so that he might become king. Indeed, if we read on, Cade would have had even those such as the Clerk who could read and write put to death by hanging “with his pen and inkhorn about his neck”.

And in his chapter on Defamation, the learned author of Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort (17th edition), when searching for an example to illustrate the rule that the publisher of defamatory information about a group is not ordinarily held liable in defamation to a member of that group, chose, perhaps unintentionally, the dicta of Willes J. in Eastwood v Holmes to the effect that, “If a man wrote that all lawyers were thieves, no particular lawyer could sue him unless there was something to point to the particular individual…”

Members of the legal profession are naturally concerned about their declining public image and are intent on doing something about it. In an article published in Volume 50 of the DePaul Law Review entitled “The Public’s Perception of Attorneys: A time to be Proactive”, Robert Clifford, an attorney-at-law, notes that the image of the lawyer has deteriorated from the fictitious portrayals of television hero Perry Mason or To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch to a stage “where a beer brewery thinks it can improve profits by running commercials depicting lawyers as rodeo cattle”.

He blames the distortion of lawyers’ behaviour on television shows and the movies for having contributed to the mistaken impression that zealous advocacy calls for “rude, aggressive and often dramatic techniques”.

However, while acknowledging that legal professionalism exists today in a milieu filled with conflicts such as fierce competition, time constraints, client pressures, unwieldy rules and the superiority of the bottom line, he advocates that the adversarial nature of law practice should not act as an excuse for incivility but should provide a reason for lawyers to educate the public about what lawyers do and why they act as they do.

He further recommends mentoring, which he describes as something that cannot be taught in law school or instruction in an ethical approach to practice as one way to raise the bar (no pun!)

The Honourable Justice Dennis Morrison QC, the President of the Court of Appeal of Jamaica, has also endorsed the ethical approach to law practice. In a recent address to the Barbados Bar Association, “The Ethical Lawyer –Burnishing the Brand”, his Lordship drew on an extract from one legal scholar who had commented earlier in a similarly titled piece, “The title, the Ethical Lawyer may be viewed by many as a contradiction, a paradox or even an oxymoron. Indeed, the perception amongst the majority of persons is that lawyers are deceitful, manipulative people who are motivated by sheer avarice. The image of the lawyer as a shark or other savage creature is not uncommon…”

Morrison then goes on to recount the transformation of Atticus Finch from the iconic defender of justice and the black accused, Tom Robinson, in “To Kill a Mockingbird” to the cynical segregationist in the harper Lee sequel “Go Set a Watchman” and posits that this mimics the transformation in the public eye in the image of lawyers from that of crusaders for right, symbols of ethical conduct to that of cynical, self seeking predators. He contends that for all those lawyers who believe that most lawyers are hard working professional who strive to uphold the honour and dignity of the profession, this must rank as high among the saddest transformations of our time. I shall continue this discussion in a future essay.

To be continued…

The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – A Perceived Evolution in Candidacy

Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill

With the minds of most Barbadians directed towards the upcoming general election campaign, some of the more recent nominations of those political parties expected to face the electorate have caused me to reflect on the evolution of the popular composition of the local political class.

It was not that long ago that the traditional professional, the lawyer or the medical doctor, was thought to be the most able representative for a constituency, perhaps based on the simplistic notion in the first case that the parliamentarian was concerned with the making of the nation’s laws and hence a legal background was desirable. In consequence, many of our leaders in the early days were members of the legal profession; successively Adams the elder, Barrow, Tom Adams and Sir Harold St. John. That pattern was broken only once when Sir Grantley went off to lead the West Indies federal experiment and, even then, a medical doctor replaced him in the person of Dr. Gordon Cummins.

While the reason for the legal practitioner was perhaps based on the notion suggested earlier, the incidence of the medical doctor in addition might best be explained on the basis that the practice of these two professions afforded their exponents the necessary financial independence to survive the loss of a political appointment and to be of some monetary assistance to an impecunious constituent.

That notion gradually evolved into a popular predilection with the economy, especially after the recession of the early 1990s, which gave rise to the populist view that our national fortunes were best left in the hands of one who had some training in economics. It was this that accounted for the near decade and a half electoral supremacy of former Prime Minister and career economist, Mr Owen Arthur, although it should also be observed in the interests of fairness that an economist- led Democratic Labour Party was on one occasion unable to stop the juggernaut of the Arthur regime during his tenure.

After that period, there was a sort of reversion to type in that the next Prime Minister, the late David Thompson, was a lawyer by profession, although it is not clear what role, if any, his profession played in his electoral triumph or whether the nature of his training was merely incidental. Likewise, his successor was also a lawyer by profession, the current Prime Minister, Mr Freundel Stuart, who would have assumed that role. It is assumed, by virtue of his seniority in the line of succession rather than purely because of his professional training.

To those who would argue that the populace does not choose the head of government and thus leadership of the country does not indicate a popular inclination one way or the other, one needs only to enumerate the members of the traditional professions that have managed to secure seats in the elected Lower House of Parliament over our recent history.

Indeed, even now with the populist perception of the attorney-at-law at one of its lowest ebbs, no fewer that twelve members of the Lower House, [DLP (5); BLP (7)] or 40% of the Chamber are purveyors of that profession. Even now there is still a medical doctor among the list of those Honourable Members. On the other hand, while I am not aware of the academic training of all the members, there is but one who may persuasively lay claim to the designation of economist.

The true evolution in perception would appear to have occurred with the most recent actual or proposed party nominations. Given a total of 14 recent nominations of which I am aware; from the DLP (3), Solutions Barbados (9) and the UPP (2), not one is a member of the medical or legal professions. Indeed, Solutions Barbados has already declared its intention to nominate as candidates businesspersons of a certain standing only. The three nominees of the governing DLP are all by inclination what may be termed “community practitioners”, although they each may pursue alternative employment.

For its part, the BLP has also nominated a few new candidates in addition to a number of those who were unsuccessful on the last occasion and are returning to the hustings. Offhand, I am able to recall two only of the latter being lawyers, while I am unable to recall any of their newer nominees being legal practitioners. However, there is a medical doctor and a dentist among them.

It would seem therefore that there has been a subtle evolution in the perception of the respective party executives as to what type of candidate would be the most successful in a constituency. No longer is the traditional professional, especially the lawyer, regarded as the candidate of first choice, even though he or she might scarcely be regarded as an endangered species. While the ability to understand legal principles might no longer be considered a sine qua non of parliamentary representation, the cogent oratory and financial independence that are the accompaniments of most members of this profession may yet have a role to play in attracting electoral support.

Given the emphasis placed on business experience by one of the parties, the relatively recent electoral successes of “pure” businessmen such as Mr Donald Trump in the US and Mr Allen Chastenet in St Lucia, and the economic stringency that the nation is undergoing, it might be an easy step to suppose that if one can run a successful business, then the governance of a country would be “suckeye”.

I am not attracted to this view that I consider superficial. The requirement to look after the welfare of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable, tallies hardly with the business mission that is essentially based on the antithetical survival of the fittest and the bottom line. And while one has to concede that a larger pie affords the state more room to take care of those who are most deserving, it is equally true that the size of our pie is not totally of our making.

Perhaps the major qualification of any candidate is not academic, professional or business credentials but simply a sincere urge to assist those citizens who are in need of such assistance.

In other words, merely a genuine concern for the welfare of his or her fellow constituent.

All Bajans Need to Participate in our Democracy, Including LAWYERS

Poster designed by Pieceuhderockyeahright

For OUR democracy to work effectively ALL stakeholders in civil society must participate, advocate, agitate, support … to become DISENGAGED is not an option.

Join the Poster War – #bajanswantchange



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Lawyers and Known Political Affiliation

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is a member of the legal profession which continues to dominate the political landscape of Barbados

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart is a member of the legal profession which continues to dominate the political landscape of Barbados

A scan of the current Parliament shows that about 36% of members are lawyers. There is a view, and BU agrees, that the influence which the legal community exerts on the way we do business in Barbados is worthy of a deep discussion.

Please add to comments the names of lawyers (still active)  you know have served in a political capacity. The qualification extends to sitting on government boards quasi and otherwise. i.e. post their name and the position held.

The final number should be interesting if we consider that we have about 600 practicing lawyers in Barbados.

BU started the ball rolling:

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Lawyers And Doctors Accused Of Not Paying All Their Taxes

Submitted by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC)

Treasury Building

“When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny”.

Thomas Jefferson

“Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again; poor fools. And their grand-children are once more slaves.”

D. H. Lawrence

Retired Acting Commissioner of the so-called Inland Revenue Department of Barbados, Frank Forde, must be one of the Princes of Darkness and Evil in the world of Satanism. For how else could he be described when very recently he came right out in defence of this very evil, wicked anti-developmental TAXATION system in Barbados??

That he has actually come right out and done it the way how he has done it indicates, one out of many things, that he has a raging serious personal problem with highly trained, black professional business people EARNING significant incomes in the private sector of Barbados. Indeed, what ALL Ministers of Finance of the government of Barbados – including the present Minister of Finance, and administrative people like Forde, right down to some others serving in various TAX DEPARTMENTS of the government of Barbados, have been despicably doing is showing many people how they can use this already evil wicked TAXATION system – in the most uncharitable and portentous of ways – to perpetually and falsely justify and wage personal grudges, envies, crusades against those neo-classical black private sector persons who EARN middle or high incomes in Barbados – and who – in many cases – EARN more than the monthly salaries  the evildoers. It is not surprising either, that those evil doers think and act in a manner that is synonymous with the interpretation of the Willie Lynch proposal, and secret society behaviour!!

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A Society Locked In A Full Nelson By Lawyers And Doctors

Submitted by Abraham

Sadly, I have found that in Barbados there are two main professions that are given all the priority and prominence in the society, these are Law and Medicine! Obviously it has lead to a large fraternity in Barbados with arguably negative results at the moment, i.e. when the population has no recourse and is always held at ransom by doctors, who have been known to exploit locals, with huge overwhelming prices for health related issue, as well as the lawyers, literally robbing poor people for legal services rendered. Added to this is a government and opposition devoid of innovative ideas to lead this country forward, as they are stuck in the past modes and methods, which aptly describes the required thinking in these professions. The problem gets worse when we look at the percentage of our scholarship winners who have and are continuing to pursue these professions in the last 15 years, instead of entrepreneurship, tourism management, agriculture development and alternative energy management. All critically needed areas of development today.

As it stands there are no alternative measures to this madness, and the thought of outside competition rendering similar services would prove futile, as we remember our treatment of Guyanese construction labour. Imagine in this present day paying a lawyer huge sets of money for the title and deeds to piece of land, to the sum like almost 10,000 and for what, poor service and unnecessary delays! I consider these practices as wrong and we the grass roots people and users of this poor service in this country need to do something about it! With level headedness, good morale and ethical skills such as displayed by our leader and deputy, maybe we have a fighting chance to save Barbadians from the wrath of these two professions as we desperately need a new path to take the country forward. Health Minister, Mr. Inniss is seemingly doing a great job and trying his best, as they are several cases I have heard about a certain urologist in Barbados and believe me, he should not be allowed to offer services at all.

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Can Barbadians Name And Shame Lawyers?

Submitted (as a comment) by Amused

…our laws are based on the presumption of innocence unless guilt is proved. Guilt can only be proved upon both sides of the matter being heard and considered or upon a preponderance of proof being provided. That proof requires far more support than simply “I told you so”.

If you name a lawyer or any other professional, it has to be assumed, since it can never be proved (as to extent) that you have caused them damage. In any case, the type of definition covering the naming of a lawyer in something published is “libel” and libel is always actionable without proof of damage.

Then you get to the economic facts. For a lawyer to sue you costs them, usually, only filing fees and other disbursements. For you, it costs those disbursements plus legal fees. Also, as the matter has to go through a judicial or quasi-judicial process, the lawyer knows all the rules of procedure required by the court. On the other hand, if you act for yourself (as is your right) you don’t and you will make mistakes on simple matters of filing alone. The court has to take the view that, as these rules are codified, you are presumed to have read and to know them; including the lawyers’ scale of allowable fees. So the court is only really allowed to cut you a very limited amount of slack. Then, if you lose, you have to pay costs (yours and your opponents – which is only fair if you have launched a case and expensed them without legal grounds – or Heaven forbid, without any grounds at all, which can happen). You almost certainly will have to pay damages estimated on the losses your opponent has sustained.

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Thieving Lawyers The Scourge Of Unsuspecting Barbadians

Submitted by Madonna

Immediately upon being apprised that the name of the lawyer in question had been posted here on BU, BU redacted the post removing the name of the lawyer in question and apologises to him/her in a more prominent position that that in which he/she was named for any embarrassment that may have been caused. BU’s contributors are reminded that the matter of possibly defamatory statements was aired here on BU and reminds the BU family that in order for all of us to protect our right of free speech on matters of national and international import here on BU, we must exercise good judgement in our comments.


My gripe is that a lot of poor people are being unfair in Barbados by a lot of lawyers. Take for instance my situation. this particular attorney and I have been friends since my school days, I wanted to sell my house and I asked his advice, he told me if I go to a real estate agent I would have to pay a lot of money so foolish me trusting him agree that he would assist me in selling the house and he in turn would charge me $10,000, I agreed although I felt it was a bit high seeing that the house was being sold for $192,000.

Would you believe that the crooked lawyer waited until I done sign the papers and then tell me his cost is $39,147.00 in legal fees, and to make matters worst he tell me that I run up a total of $10,000 in phones calls?

I had to go to court to stop him from completing the sale and taking out his share as he threatened. The man produced a lot of bogus phone numbers and said that I called from the numbers, it is only after the case and I was given a copy of the numbers, when I called the numbers it is immigration’s numbers and some were not in service.

I had to pay him $17,000 after the case was finished so he did not get the money he was expecting. I am still not satisfied. I hear the Barbados Bar Association will do nothing but slap him on the wrist, but I waiting and see.

Time To Audit Attorneys' Client Accounts

barbados lawyerThe problems which the public has had with lawyers and the PSV sector over the many years may have something in common. The policymakers have continued to demonstrate an aversion to imposing controls to address the problems which have perennially plague the two businesses. Even as our policymakers fiddle while the PSV sector lay prey to our once orderly society; so too many lawyers continue to fleece Barbadians ignorant of the law and process out of their hard earned dollars.

It is no secret lawyers over the years have used their Client Accounts as a source of other income. They can deny it all they want but we know that it happens. Funds are received from clients to settle transactions and because of the drawn-out process to consummate legal transactions; results in those funds remaining in interest bearing Client Account for lengthy spells. If the interest earned on those Client Accounts was freely passed to the clients by the lawyers who would care? The fact of the matter is many of our lawyers retain the interest earned masked under the explanation of administrative fees. In recent years those most vulnerable to some of these thieves who wear wigs have been the group commonly referred to as returning nationals.

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The Legal Profession In Barbados In a State Of Moral Hazard: Who Polices The Custodians Of The Legal System?

Submitted by Terence Blackett

barbadosbarassociationMost of us were raised to believe that the law is the glory of a decent society; that the rule of law is the sine qua non of a postmodern civilization; that international law is the greatest protector of human rights; that lawyers coupled with doctors remain an elite profession to which a young person can aspire; that making laws is the great work of governments and legislatures; that law schools are among the noble places of learning in society; that the title “judge” or “magistrate” was perhaps one of the highest appellations one can have in society; and that the “jury system” is an essential component of a just society. Sadly, most of the abovementioned ideals have become a pathetic nonsense. The legal system is now our enemy according to many disaffected souls.

Many have come to fear almost everything having to do with law. Though there are many fine people in the legal profession, and though law is necessary to protect society from descending into chaos, we now fear the legal profession more than we do Islamic terror.

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