Tales from the Courts – CJ Gibson Hammered by the Court of Appeal XXXII


Barbados Supreme Court of Barbados

BU is awaiting the remainder of the posted document because true to expectation it is not yet available on the Supreme Court of Judicature website and it is not readily available in soft copy. Yet, the losing attorney, Barry Gale QC, has commented on it in the press. “It” is the decision of the Court of Appeal (Justices of Appeal Burgess and Goodridge and Justice William Chandler (ag)) in overturning the decision of the Chief Justice, sitting as a judge of the High Court, in the Banks Holdings Limited matter. The only decision that the Chief Justice has actually authored since taking office years ago.

To say that the Court of Appeal has ‘KOed’ Chief Justice Marston Gibson would be to understate the case by a considerable margin. The Court of Appeal has in fact decimated the Chief Justice. It constitutes a serious indictment of the judicial competence of the Chief Justice in the starkest possible judicial terms. In other common law jurisdictions, such an overturning and judgement would cause any self-respecting judge to resign with haste.

So what have we got? We have a chief justice who has: (a) singularly failed to solve the enormous backlog of cases before both the High Court and the Court of Appeal; (b) who has himself been sued for abuse of power and gross misconduct; (c) who has indulged in press statements prejudicial to a case before the Court of Appeal of which he is head; (d) who has spent his judicial time dealing with bail applications, rather than trying cases; (e) who has usurped the authority and rights of the executive in his issuance of certain practice directions; and (f) who has now been made to look like an untalented first year law student by the Court of Appeal. Indeed, the sole talents and accomplishments of the Chief Justice seem to have been cocktail parties, overseas trips and getting his name and photo in the press – in that order. Oh, and let us not forget embarrassing both himself and the country in the region and internationally.

Once again, BU apologizes that it is only able to post a part of the judgement, but will, in due course and as soon as we receive it, post the remainder.

Tales from the Courts – CJ Marston Gibson Usurps the Legislature With Practice Directions (MEDIATION/ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION) XXXI

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

It is very interesting to BU that none of our legal fraternity has come out publicly, YET, to condemn the lack of legality of the new Practice Directions handed down by Marston Gibson, despite the fact that they have been widely publicized by the Nation newspaper. Needless to say, if you go on the Supreme Court website and navigate to, for reasons passing all understanding News Publications and click on the drop-down menu and select the equally mystifying Press Releases, at the very bottom of the page, you will find, in the second column in very small print Practice Directions but you will not find these new practice directions listed there, as it appears that there have been no practice directions since 2013. Instead, you will either have to go and purchase a copy of the Official Gazette, or brave the rudeness and non-cooperation of the Registry and hope that you find someone there who knows what the hell you are talking about.

With these 2016 practice directions, Marston Gibson has given himself a problem. A big fat problem. It stems from the fact that, despite being a Rhodes scholar and an alumnus of Oxford University, his total incompetence as a chief justice is now an established fact. He simply does not get it at all as is witnessed in his new Practice Directions – which are illegal.

As a background, let it be said that Barbados takes its Civil Procedure Rules 2008 from those of England and Wales, almost verbatim. Those Rules govern the conduct of civil cases brought before the courts.

The history of these Rules is startlingly similar to Barbados. In England and Wales, the Rules came into force as the result of, like Barbados, there being a crisis in the delivery and timeliness of justice – in other words, there was a backlog. Lord Woolf, the then Master of the Rolls (head of the Court of Appeal) was tasked with formulating new civil procedure rules to, hopefully, solve the matter and move things along quicker and shut down the delaying tactics of lawyers. Barbados legislated these Rules in 2008 and they came into force in 2009. But we should maybe have also addressed the delaying tactics of lazy, incompetent judges, for what worked for England and Wales with, no doubt, the assistance of a competent judiciary, has clearly not worked for Barbados, the sole reason being said lazy, incompetent judges and a series of even lazier and more incompetent registrars.

The introduction of the Barbados Rules was motored by Simmons CJ. These Rules are not amendable or revocable at the whim or on the authority of a CJ; but rather this is the province of the legislature.

On 17 October 2013 in an address for International Conflict Resolution Day 2013, Sir David Simmons stated, “Parts 25 and 26 of the new Rules provide for Mediation but the process of mediation needs statutory support. There are two ways in which this may be achieved. First, in the same way as arbitration is given its own statutory regime in Cap.110, separate legislation should be enacted to cover the administration and practice of mediation. In November 2009, I dared to draft a Mediation Bill using the Trinidad and Tobago legislation as a model.” Clearly obviously either Marston has not read, or he disagrees with, Sir David and has attempted instead to use as conferring authority on him so to do for his new Practice Directions, Part 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules. We invite Sir David to send us a copy of his draft Mediation Bill and undertake to bring it, with our comments, firmly to the attention of the AG and the public.

Hold on!

We have to ask what the PM and AG think of this latest effort to usurp the legislature’s prerogative and authority by Marston Gibson and how long they are going to allow this man to hold on to office, salary and emoluments paid by the taxpayers. We (and the legislature) have seen Gibson set himself up as the authority by which practicing certificates are issued and we have seen Gibson attempt to disbar licensed (by the legislature) attorneys by writing to all judges of the Barbados courts (which includes those of the CCJ) and all magistrates, demanding that they deny audience to a certain class of attorneys and for his pains, his instructions be ignored or refused by the judiciary. We have seen Gibson effectively disbar one attorney without due process…..and get sued personally. We have seen Gibson lecture school children on Magna Carta of 1215 (801 years old) which, at clause 40 states, “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice,” and this is enshrined in our Constitution, yet our backlog subsists and justice is denied and delayed. Now, Gibson has attempted to put in place through practice directions that which can only be put in place statutorily. And, once again, while judges will likely refuse to implement these practice directions, if they have any sense which is debatable, they add another lair of frivolous nonsense to an already complex and costly process. Meanwhile, there are distinct (and very loud) rumblings within the legal profession and they are likely gathering themselves for a full frontal attack. As for the Nation, well you can hardly expect its reporters to do more than produce a publicity statement authored by one M. Gibson, stick in a photograph of him shaking hands with Kuman Hathiramani who is attempting to forge a source of income from mediation and, as a lawyer, must know that the new practice directions are illegal (or should know) and project the idea that Gibson has performed a legal miracle worthy of much praise, rather than a legal gaffe worthy of having his backside slung out of office.

There is no doubt that, as have been proved in Canada, there are some areas of civil law that would benefit from mandatory mediation. Family law is a very sensible area of mandatory mediation. However, mediation, whether mandatory or not, is confidential, it is not binding on the parties and it is without prejudice (which means that if it fails and the matter goes to court, the court may not know about or take into consideration anything to do with the mediation). The mediator has no decision-making power whatever and is there solely to assist the parties reach (if possible) a settlement satisfactory to them. It is highly likely and proven that ADR/mediation will work in, say, divorce cases of which there are many cluttering up the courts. But there are other cases where it simply adds to the expense and the time it takes to determine the case, without any reasonable prospect of success. Mediation can only ever work if all parties wish to mediate, rather than be mandated to mediate by the courts. Such mediations will fail and after all the time and expense, you end up right back before the courts in any case. So what Gibson is trying to do is to pass the buck.

Marston Gibson arrived in Barbados touting ADR as what one commenter has called “a universal panacea” (a phrase which we adopt with thanks) as a cure-all for the enormous backlog of cases. Now, in what must surely be the twilight of his tenure as chief justice, he seeks to garner public support to stay the advance of eternal night, by handing down illegal practice directions to try to fool the public, as he has certainly succeeded in fooling the Nation News, which isn’t at all difficult.

BU was fascinated by one of Sir David’s comments in his address of 17 October 2013. Sir David said, “In my last address to a full sitting of the Supreme Court on 5 October 2009, I warned then that the days for blaming the failure of the civil justice system on lawyers were over. If the system continues to fail, the judges will have to accept the blame.” And so will you, Sir David, have to take the blame on……..for the massive amount of political and incompetent yardfowls that YOU appointed to the Bench whose agenda is not the delivery of timely justice, but political, pension and perceived power. But you are right, Sir David, they must accept the blame, be fired (or resign) and forego their pensions as recompense for their betrayal of their country, its justice system, its finances and its people’s hopes and aspirations, not to mention their right to timely and impartial justice. You, Sir David, were constructively dismissed. Now we need your successor Marston out as quickly as possible along with, where appropriate, your incompetent appointees to the Bench.

TALES FROM THE COURTS – CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE Application No BBCV2013/001, Between Timothy Walsh APPELLANT And Stephen Ward, Bjorn Bjerkham and Nature’s Produce Inc. RESPONDENT [2015] CCJ 14 (AJ) XXIX

Chief Gibson Marston Gibson

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

As we all know by now, the CCJ has been even more harshly critical of the delays in the Barbados courts than ever before, for good reason.[…] Continue reading

Tales from the Courts – Alair Shepherd’s Butt EXPOSED XXVIII

Denis Lowe (1) Peter Allard (r)

Denis Lowe (1) Peter Allard (r)

When can a lawyer be made liable jointly and severally for costs ordered against his client? What are the professional obligations of a lawyer and his/her responsibility to the integrity of the justice system? Update of “The Other Side of the Kingsland Estates Matter” […] Continue reading


Marjorie Knox

Marjorie Knox

Initially, BU took the view that the Kingsland Estates court matter was not one of national importance, despite the fact that it encompassed over 1% of the total landmass of Barbados. It was, in BU’s judgement, a private, family squabble.

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Tales From the Courts – The Idiocy of Chief Justice Marston Gibson XXV

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice

The CJ seems intent to blunder from one piece of stupidity to another. Recently, he welcomed a group of pre-teen children to the courts and gave them a lecture on Magna Carta which, this year, is 800 years old. The thrust of Magna Carta […] Continue reading

Tales from the Courts – Chief Justice Marston Gibson Puts Foot in Mouth XXIII

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice

In a statement from Trinidad extracts which are published in the Nation and Barbados Today, the Chief Justice has said:

“I want to find out what is the Bar’s plan to tackle the growing instances of attorney dishonesty. The twitter in Barbados is that there are several attorneys who are in the same position as the attorney whose case is presently pending before the Court of Appeal,” he said.” [BU’s EMPHASIS]

BU stands to be corrected, but does the CJ not chair the panel of the Court of Appeal before whom this case, recently highlighted by BU has commenced and been adjourned?

If this is indeed the case, for the Chief  Justice Gibson (CJ) to allude to it publicly in any way, far less in a press release/statement, is highly improper if he is sitting on the hearing. It is highly improper for any judge to allude in public to a case on which he is sitting – such statements can and must only come from the Bench. And the CJ, not only was not on the Bench, but out of jurisdiction. However, for the CJ, who is head of the Court of Appeal, to make such a statement, especially to the Press, is not only gross misconduct, but brings the courts into disrepute. That is grounds for dismissal from office.

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Tales from the Courts – Arresting the Slide XIX

.. a functioning judiciary underpins an orderly society ...

.. a functioning judiciary underpins an orderly society …

We do not accept that our judiciary is tardy or indecisive. Rather, a distinction must be made between the judiciary and the administrative aspects of the justice systemNation newspaper (June 14, 2014)

It is taboo for the local media to be hostile at the judiciary. BU has been one of the few voices highlighting glaring inefficiencies in our legal system – see Tales from the Courts. Barbados is a society that is respected by those on the outside because our attention to maintaining law and order, AND, a functioning judiciary underpins an orderly society.

Minister Donville Inniss’ public acknowledgement last week that our delinquent judiciary is affecting international investment in Barbados has come as no surprise to BU. Successive governments have allowed politics – like every other thing – to affect decision making in the judiciary. Now we have corroboration from the Minister of Commerce and International Business of situations where business is not coming to Barbados because of concerns about the judiciary. Lest we forget, attracting foreign direct investment is important to Barbados to pay our large import bill AND allows us to maintain our touted high standard of living. Our per capita income is the envy of many.

Unfortunately our leading local newspaper in its editorial quoted above felt to make the distinction between the Court Registry and the Judiciary. This is one of the reasons why Barbados continues to decline on the social and economic indicators index – the failure of the fourth estate to come to the public with clean hands. The Nation editorial conveys the notion that Chief Justice Marston Gibson and Judges have no say in the scheduling of cases and the time it takes to deliver judgements. Of course the delays is compounded by the files at the Court Registry which mysteriously go missing. Meddling by the CJ and Judges has the knock on effect of prolonging justice to those who are remanded for unacceptably long periods. How often have we posted the maxim, justice delayed is justice denied?

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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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A Message to Judges, Deliver Timely Decisions or We Withhold Your Pay

NewsdayWhen mention is made of layoffs in the public sector no thought is ever given to extending the treatment to our referred Judges. BU has been relentless in the effort to expose the inefficiency of the Judiciary – see Tales from the Courts. Chief Justice Marston Gibson of whom much was expected has resigned himself to communicating about the thousands of cases in backlog which has our courts in gridlock.

There is the saying that if there is to be a different result one cannot continue to do the same thing. The news which appears in today’s Trinidad Newsday newspaper seems relevant to Barbados. These are tough times for all citizens as we grapple with austere conditions, it is time for our Judges to suck it up.

The recommendation coming from a Chief Justice and a sitting Judge in Trinidad is to “WITHHOLD the pay of tardy judges as a penalty for failing to deliver judgments within six months of the conclusion of a case”.

Read the full article – NO PAY FOR TARDY JUDGES

Tales from the Courts – Mars(ton) and Pluto Were Inside the Closet Part XVIII

Justice Saunders opined that it was because Barbados judges were not scheduling their time properly.

Justice Saunders of the CCJ opined recently that  Barbados judges were not scheduling their time properly.

For some years now BU has been highlighting the issue of the almost terminal state of our justice system. We have been highlighting, among other things, the backlog of cases both before the High Court and the Court of Appeal, the complete inefficiency of the Registry with its loss of files and procrastination, the mess that is the Bar Association and the clear conflict between Bar Association enforced membership and the Constitution; but most importantly, we have been highlighting the quality of our judges, both at High Court and Appeal levels.

A very short while ago, attorneys-at-law from Barbados raised the issue of delays in both getting matters heard and in receiving the judgements on those matters with CCJ Justice Saunders at one open forum. Justice Saunders opined that it was because Barbados judges were not scheduling their time properly. Meanwhile, in another forum, CCJ President Sir Denis Byron advised that appeals to the CCJ from Barbados had risen by 350%.

Having read some of the CCJ decisions in right of Barbados, we have to say that Justice Saunders was being diplomatic, for these judgements do not censure delay alone, but the lack of quality of the judgements themselves, judgements that in any other jurisdiction would lead either to the judge being asked to resign or to his/her dismissal.

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Tales from the Courts – A lucky Dip into the Decisions of the Barbados Court of Appeal Part XVII

Where is justice in the Barbados Courts?

Where is justice in the Barbados Courts?

Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied” – British politician William Gladstone

A dip into decisions of the Barbados Court of Appeal  by BU legal eagles has provided the opportunity to critique the case James Livingstone Eastmond v. Rayside Concrete Works Limited [Unreported] C.A. B’dos Civil Appeal No 18 of 2003. The decision was handed down on 2012-11-08 by a panel comprised of Williams CJ (ag) Mason, Burgess JJA.  The decision was written by Peter Williams JA.

The case is one involving dismissal and severance payment. This is not some high-flown case with wealthy and high-profile litigants, but one which demonstrates the perpetual failure of our judiciary to deliver justice to an ordinary Bajan.

The plaintiff, James Eastmond, had worked for Rayside Concrete Works for 15 years and he had been dismissed over 20 years before the decision of the Court of Appeal was handed down. A twenty year search for justice. The case was in the system (either before the Severance Payments Tribunal or the High Court) for about 11 years, before coming to the Court of Appeal.

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Tales From the Courts – Judges Fiddling On the Bench Assisted by Registrar Marva Clarke Part XIII

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

BU has come into possession of a list of outstanding decisions before the Barbados courts as at November 2012. It is a daunting list that in any other jurisdiction other than Barbados, would mandate that the delinquent judges be censored and their resignations demanded forthwith.

BU makes one caveat on behalf of Mr Justice Randall Worrell who is in an unenviable position not of his making. Former Chief Justice David Simmons invited Justice Worrell – a highly successful criminal counsel – on to the bench specifically to try criminal matters and therefore speed up the process of the courts, lessen remand periods etc. Once installed on the Bench, however, the Registrar persisted in scheduling civil matters, some of them extremely complex, before Justice Worrell. While at the same time, ensuring that he could not do justice to the civil matters by constantly involving him in assizes for which he had been brought on to the bench in the first place. Justice Worrell must now find the time to write his decisions in civil matters, as well as to complete part-heard matters that have commenced hearing before him, as mandated by the Administration of Justice Act Cap 109b of our laws. This is the main reason that BU has not gone after Justice Worrell for delinquency. However in the final analysis, Justice Worrell, whatever excuses can be posited on his behalf  will ultimately find himself joined in actions under the Constitution brought by litigants against the Attorney General for breach of the constitutional rights through delay. BU is well aware that there are a number of such actions for delay…but predictably these actions for delay are themselves egregiously delayed by the incompetence and corruption of the Registrar and the Registry.

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An Open Letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice

Dear Sirs,

BU has come across seemingly incontrovertible evidence that warrants both of your immediate investigation. The evidence involves Mr Justice Olson Alleyne. Evidence suggests that Mr Justice Alleyne continues to practice law under the business name of “Olson Alleyne Legal”, despite his elevation to the Bench and has indulged in the practice of law during his tenure on the Bench, even up to the present day. We are satisfied that as little as 14 days ago, counsel received correspondence from Olson Alleyne Legal signed by another lawyer on behalf of Mr Olson Alleyne. If proved, this constitutes gross and dismissible misconduct and we refer you to section 84 of the Constitution, to be easily found  online.

This is a matter of the gravest possible national importance. It requires investigation and explanation forthwith. BU, out of fairness and to permit you to conduct an immediate investigation, will refrain for the present from publishing the evidence. You are encouraged to contact us should you wish to avail yourself of this evidence and we will make arrangements to have it delivered to you. We await your expeditious response. It would be a great mistake to test our resolve on this one.

If there is no interest shown in this matter by officialdom we will interpret this to mean you have no problem with BU pursuing this matter in the public space of the Internet.

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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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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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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Tales From The Courts – Exposing ‘Teefing’ and Incompetent Lawyers

Sir Henry De B. Forde, K.A. Q.C. – Barbados’ best known counsel

In the last two instalments of Tales From The Courts, BU ventilated an aspect of land law that had the possible potential to cause problems for vendors and purchasers alike. This arose because of an Order given by Miss Kentish of the Barbados High Court. BU’s position evoked much argument from both sides of the issue.

Some well known counsel said that the Order was correct. Some, including it is reported, the a party to a sale and purchase and their counsel, held that the Order was a nullity and therefore refused to proceed with the purchase. It is not the intention of BU to go into the relative merits of this argument. We leave that to the lawyers to discuss among themselves.

What BU will do, however, is to fulfil its function, which is to serve the general Bajan public by pointing out the dilemma facing it. The fact that there are clearly two schools of legal thought within the legal fraternity on this issue of law, means that ultimately one is wrong and the other right. Therefore, it is clearly best for members of the general public, vendors and purchasers of land alike, to err on the side of caution. And it is clearly best for their counsel to be responsible enough to encourage them to do so.

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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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Two Down-to-Earth Bajan Scholars Making Waves

Submitted by William Skinner

Governor Delisle Worrell (l) CJ Marston Gibson (r)

Anybody remotely acquainted with Dr. Delisle Worrell, the distinguished governor of our central bank, would not be surprised that he is now being judged on such unimportant matters as to how he dresses and what he parades in during the Festival of Flesh that was once Crop Over.

First, let me state without apology, that both Dr. Worrell and our new Chief Justice Mr. Marston Gibson, represent a breath of fresh air blowing through the corridors of snobbery and intellectual arrogance, that passes as brilliance in our country. It is obvious, that neither of these two obviously brilliant minds have caught the eye of those intellectual frauds that masquerade about here as if this country is their exclusive academic playground. Lord Nelson will turn into Bussa ,and vice versa, before the likes of an Owen Arthur or his willing side kick, Clyde Mascoll succeeds in turning Dr .Worrell into” an economist of Lilliputian status”. Anybody, who has taken five minutes to research Dr. Worrell’s work, will know that neither of these two gentlemen is held in the esteem that comes close to the good Governor’s standing in intellectual circles. It simply does not merit any serious discussion.

We have long held Bishops, Chief Justices and Governors of the central bank in such high regard, that we sometimes forget that they are accountable to the people. And that in the case of Governors of Central Banks and Chief Justices, we are the ones who pay them, and pay them very well, taking into consideration our meagre resources. The same can be said of Commissioners of Police and other powerful professionals. By all means we must respect the office but don’t allow them to believe and act as if they should not or cannot be touched.

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Tales From The Courts – Part I

Madam Justice Sandra Mason appointed acting Governor General

With foreign investments in Barbados disappearing at an alarming rate due to a justice system slow to dispense justice, BU – at the insistence of many – is commencing a series of revelations and name and shame blogs to shine a light on those in our Justice System who are responsible. Of course BU will apportion praise and approbation where it is appropriate.

THE CAIPO STORY: A well-known attorney recently filed a notice for the appointment of a director in a company in Barbados with the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Properties Office (CAIPO). It is required that the name and the PROFESSION of the director be listed on the form and this the attorney did. The profession of the director was listed as “Therapist”. The application was rejected by CAIPO, because, in their view, the profession of the director was not only illegal, but criminal. When this was protested that a Therapist was a legal and non-criminal profession, CAIPO, it turns out, had misinterpreted this and read it as The Rapist. Incredible but true! It is the current joke going the rounds of the legal profession. But how funny is it when the Bajan taxpayer is paying the salary of that employee (used advisedly) at CAIPO who actually could consider that an attorney would list such a profession as “The Rapist” on a public domain document. Appreciation to anyone who could provide us with the name of this person at CAIPO.

Madam Justice Pamela Beckles

SOLICITOR GENERAL: Are Bajans aware that the office of the Solicitor General, replete with attorneys, has had to advertise externally to fill 12 senior positions? Why not promote attorneys from within the Solicitor General’s office, we may ask? Simple! Because NONE of the junior attorneys are sufficiently competent to fill these 12 senior positions. It appears the ones from within the Solicitor General’s office who have applied – and been turned down – have been there for YEARS perpetuating their incompetence – and no one has fired them! Instead, the Bajan taxpayer continues to pay them for jobs for doing, effectively, a lot of damage and, as a reward, when they face retirement age, will doubtless have the pleasure of paying their pensions.

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Chief Justice Marston Gibson Slams Barbados Bar Association President, Andrew Pilgrim

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

In an email to Andrew Pilgrim, president of the Barbados Bar Association, Chief Justice Marston Gibson has slammed the BBA, thereby raising many points that BU has been promoting about the Justice System.

The Chief’s email to Mr Pilgrim is posted to the members section of the BBA website and requires that it be accessed by passwords available to BBA members only. However, BU has been able to obtain a copy and states that it posts this as a matter of public interest!

This comes at a time when BU understands that the Registrar has been told that she may not sit as a judge to replace judges on leave (in this case, Madam Justice Kentish) and that her job is to stay in the Registry and sort out the mess. Instead, Madam Justice Kentish has been replaced during her six month leave by the Chief Magistrate.

Here is what the Chief has had to say to Mr Pilgrim and the BBA.

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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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Chief Justice Marston Gibson Should Consider Expanding Alternative Dispute Resolution To Include Family Law Matters

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

In BU’s previous blog about Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) most if not all of the comments  shared were favourable to its quick implementation. We cannot repeat enough times how lamentable it is that –  to quote CJ Gibson – ‘our Courts are in crisis’ and ADR was not  introduced under the former CJ as one  tactic to assist with the efficient handling of the case backlog in our Courts. Nevertheless  for his effort Sir David Simmons  was rewarded the obligatory Knighthood.

Whilst the OECS Practice Directions exist for Barbados to follow  – and it seems ‘strange’ that we should be following the OECS on this matter in much the same way that as a jurisdiction it has already achieved  CAT 1 status contrasted with Barbados’ Cat II – there is merit to the CJ advocating for expanding  ADR to include family law matters. Anyone who has observed how family  matters are dealt with by the Barbados Courts is driven to be very  sympathetic to the parties on both sides of the matter. Most oft than not the principals are from the lower rung of society with few options available to them except to wait on our Courts to give currency to the view that justice delayed is justice denied.

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Chief Justice Marston Gibson Supports ADR But …

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados

Barbados’ new Chief Justice, Marston Gibson, has admitted that the Barbados courts are in crisis. In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, he stated, “I am very conscious of the fact that our courts are in crisis and I am conscious of the fact that we need to do something about it.” .

One of the courses the CJ intimated that he would follow is one long espoused by BU, that of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). BU is also happy to read of the hearty support which President of the BAR Andrew Pilgrim has given to his Lordship’s approach.

The CJ is looking at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Practice Directions. BU assumes that the CJ refers to the Rules contained here.

If so, we are very hopeful but:

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Open Letter To Marston Gibson CJ

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

My Lord,

On this day, September 01, 2011, the day of your installation as Chief Justice, we congratulate you on your swearing in and we thank you sincerely for having accepted the appointment.

The timely administration and delivery of justice in Barbados has long been one of the primary concerns with the BU family. For too long, the Charter of Magna Carta (that celebrates its 800th Anniversary in 2015) has been flouted and ignored in Barbados. A Charter that clearly postulates that justice delayed is justice denied.

We have read your comments courtesy of the Fourth Estate and we ourselves have been linked to the New York Times blog in connection with your appointment. We are hopeful and optimistic that you are exactly the right man for the job of re-delivering Justice to Barbados.

However, my lord, we also realise that this is not a task in which you can succeed on your own. You will require the support and cooperation of the judiciary, the Bar, the Registry and the People. Last, but by no means least, Government will have to provide you with the tools to do the job, whether it be budget, the setting up of Royal Commissions to deal with unsatisfactory, incompetent or recalcitrant judges or, most importantly, having the courage and resolve to provide its backing (without political or personal bi-partisanship) to support your efforts. We urge everyone, especially Government (by both and whichever political parties) to give you full support.

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Welcome To The Chief, His Lordship, Chief Justice Marston Gibson

Newly Appointed Chief Justice Marston Gibson

On August 14, 2010, BU broke the story that our late Prime Minister David Thompson, after consultation with the Attorney General, Freundel Stuart, the present Prime Minister, and with the then Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley Q.C., had made the decision to appoint internationally acclaimed Bajan jurist, Marston Gibson, as Barbados’ new Chief Justice.

In making this appointment from outside the inner ring, the word of the late Prime Minister to Bajans has been kept from beyond the grave. The reason for reaching outside the ring has been fully discussed in this forum. A ring infested by incestuous relationships shaped by lodge and other fraternity ties. The course of events that followed are well known.

Many believe His Lordship should have been allowed to assume the CJ position without the hassle he has had to endure.  The Government, out of abundance of caution because it wanted to ensure that no nuisance legal challenges to the appointment could be made, amended the Supreme Court of Judicature Act to use the words “common law” instead of “Commonwealth”. Therefore any politically motivated time-wasting legal challenges to the appointment of an undoubted and eminently qualified son of our soil was effectively thwarted. A son of our soil who, as can be easily ascertained from the Internet, has never forgotten his roots and whose unrelenting promotion of Barbados is well documented.

Now, almost a year after it broke this story, BU is able to formally welcome Chief Justice Gibson back to the land where is navel string is buried to share with us his scholarship, energy and experience and to deliver back to Barbadians a justice system which has lost its way. Chief Justice Gibson inherits a comatose legal system that he must now raise from the dead. It is an gargantuan task, but one in which we are optimistic he will rise to the challenge.

To His Lordship the Chief Justice we say:

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Don’t You Dare Whisper Secrets In The Supreme Court Of Barbados

The Judicial Centre of Barbados

The administration of justice in Barbados has all but ground to a halt as the country waits for the roadblock which prevents Marston Gibson from taking up the position of Chief Justice of Barbados to be cleared. The Prime Minister and Attorney General are both lawyers and are aware of the issues which currently plague our system of justice. They obviously wouldn’t dare admit it publicly but they know.

One of the problems of several which lawyers of late have been concerned about is the audio recording at the Supreme Court.  It seems incredible but there you have it.  It appears  that the recording equipment is set to such a sensitive level that it even picks up whispered consultations between counsel on the same side and between counsel and clients.

Even for those who are not trained in law you  would have gleaned from Perry Mason or Matlock that disclosures between lawyer and client is governed  by the legal concept of attorney-client privilege.  To add to this betrayal of confidentiality the exchanges are then made a part of the court transcript. This is happening in the palatial environs of the Judicial Centre in Whitepark.

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Barbados Society Built On Law And Order – Collusion Of Silence Cloaks The Appointment of Chief Justice Of Barbados

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

If there is one thing the government of Barbados must plead guilty, it is the procrastination and vacillation which has affected their ability to appoint a Chief Justice of Barbados. The denial given to Sir David which forced him into an early retirement would have signalled to the public the government had a plan  to attack the many issues which are afflicting our Judicature.

If there is one attribute which recommends Barbados it is the fact our country is still regarded as an orderly society. The strength of our democracy, law and order; its political and social stability has become a symbiosis. At the epicentre of the administration of justice sits the Chief Justice. Sir David was sent hurrying on pre-retirement leave on the 21 Jan 2010, more that a year ago. Is it conceivable to think that any company wishing to be successful would want to have an entrenched appointee at the top? It has nothing to do with the vacuous and spurious excuses being offered to the effect Justice Sherman Moore is competent.

Besides the ugly and embarrassing situation which must be tarnishing the reputation and credibility of our court system has been the silence of those who should be most vociferous given the tardy appointment of a permanent Chief Justice. Recently appointed President of the Barbados Bar Association Andrew Pilgrim has been uncharacteristically silent. The Barbados Labour Party Opposition who registered disagreement when Sir David was refused the extension, also opposed the amendment of the Judicature of the Supreme Court Act, which many believed cleared the way for Marston Gibson to take up the post, has been passive on the issue. The most resounding silence has been the local media who although willing to do a public relations job on Marston Gibson, felt hat and all, has shown a reluctance to disseminate the bigger issues created by his non appointment.

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The Case Of Bond v Dunster Properties Ltd And Others, 'Everyone Entitled To A Hearing…Within A Reasonable Time' – Whither The Marston Gibson Appointment ?

Delay in the appointment of Marston Gibson has become a source of embarrassment for government

BU family member, Anonlegal, has brought to our attention a case recently ruled on by the English Court of Appeal. Bond v Dunster Properties Ltd and others [2011] EWCA Civ 455. For the legal eagles amongst our readership, here is access to the complete decision.

Of particular interest to BU, however, is the fact that the lower court judge reserved his decision for 22 months and the Master of the Rolls (the head of England’s Court of Appeal) has ordered a full investigation into that judge’s delinquency. Here is what the Court of Appeal had to say and please note that the emphases are BU’s:

Lady Justice Arden :

“Everyone is entitled to a hearing…within a reasonable time”

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A Year Has Passed, What Is The Delay In Appointing The Chief Justice?

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The office of Chief Justice became vacant on April 28, 2010. Since that date the duties of that office have been performed by an acting Chief Justice. In the interim Government took steps to fill the post by going as far as making legislative changes to the qualification requirements, on March 20th at 12:35 a.m. in order to accommodate their preferred candidate. It appeared that the Government was moving with all deliberate speed to fill the vacancy as though there was some deadline that they had to meet. However, with all the fancy manoeuvring the post remains vacant.

It is as though no one in the Administration realises that this state of affairs holds Barbados up to ridicule internationally. Government should never allow a situation where an acting judge would be at the mercy of the Executive for a permanent appointment for such a prolonged period, before a substantive appointment is made. Just imagine a situation where a plaintiff has a case against the government before an acting judge. The judge should never be in a position where he has at the back of his mind any conflict about giving a judgement, against the Government, and not finally getting the permanent appointment. In this case, Barbados is fortunate and should be grateful that all the persons who are acting in this present debacle are of the highest calibre. The quality of the actors notwithstanding this situation is untenable.

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'Learned Layman' Challenges Law Professor

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn


Cecil McCarthy QC (l) Caswell Franklyn (c) Jeff Cumberbatch (r)

I have always said, rather simplistically, that since the language of instruction in Barbados is English: in the end, no matter which subject we are studying, we are really doing English comprehension. Rightly or wrongly, I have adopted that approach and so far it has worked for me.

In the Midweek Nation of March 23, 2011 and on this blog, I wrote a piece where I questioned whether the recent amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act was sufficient to enable Mr. Marston Gibson to be appointed to the post of Chief Justice of Barbados.

In my opinion, the amendment was crafted to ensure that Mr. Gibson’s experience in New York would go toward his qualification for the post. It stated, in part, that the person should have practiced in the Commonwealth or a common law jurisdiction for fifteen years. I argued that for the purposes of Barbados law, New York is not a common law jurisdiction and he would therefore not qualify. I found support for my position in the Interpretation Act, Chapter 1 of the laws of Barbados.

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Barbadians Are Listening Very Carefully To What You Say Chief Justice Marston Gibson

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados Designate

The appointment of Chief Justice (CJ) Marston Gibson has generated heated debate in some quarters. Today President of the Barbados Bar Association Andrew Pilgrim criticized the current system which which sees the Prime Minister appointing judges. It seems he was peeved about the reason which Gibson offered for accepting the appointment in the face of the public furore directed at his appointment. Gibson indicated it was a promise he made to late Prime Minister Thompson which he felt obligated to honour. Pilgrim’s view differs with his colleague Ralph Thorne who believes the quality of decisions by a Prime Minister will be judged by the electorate. Therefore a Prime Minister has a vested interest in appointing quality judges to the bench. It should be noted based on a little research, all the sitting judges were appointed by Prime Minister Owen Arthur.

In the weekend news just passed there was the obligatory public relations spread which sought to give the public an insight into what to expect from the incoming CJ. BU would have asked the harder questions but such is the lay of the land. In the Public Relations job facilitated by Tony Best of the Nation Gibson articulated changes he plans to implement when he assumes office. By the way did BU miss it or was the position officially announced by government? His interview generated mild comment in some quarters while others suggested CJ Gibson has not stated anything that has not already made it into the public domain and in some instances are in the process of being implemented.

The following is an extract from Sir David Simmon’s speech at the opening of the Special Sitting of the Supreme Court to mark the commencement of the legal year 2009-2010 at the new Judicial Building. One of the advantages the incoming CJ will have is that he will be under the public microscope like no other CJ who preceded him. He will therefore have to be very wary when he makes public statements. A read of Sir David’s speech touches many of the suggestions proffered by Gibson in the weekend press, you decide.

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Supreme Court Of Judicature Marston Gibson Amendment Act?

Submitted by Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The Saturday Sun of March 20, 2011, reported that the House of Assembly passed an amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act just after mid-night. That amendment partly paved the way for Mr. Marston Gibson to become the next Chief Justice of this country.

The lead-up to the amendment generated a considerable amount of controversy, and I would have been interested in the debate. Unfortunately, it took place after my bedtime. Many persons in this country rightly expressed abhorrence when they realized that the amendment was being done to facilitate one predetermined candidate. Their abhorrence would have been more acute if they were aware that it is normal practice to change qualifications to enable the appointment of individuals, who did not make the grade.

This matter with the Chief Justice only came to light because the qualifications for that post are found in the Supreme Court of Judicature Act, and any changes would require amendments to that Act. On the other hand, in the Public Service, when Government wants to change the qualifications to facilitate a particular individual, the Minister for the Civil Service merely signs an order to amend the Civil Establishments (Qualifications) Order, which is generally done in secret. In most cases, public officers only find out about the changes when they are about to apply for a senior post or when they are overlooked for promotion.

By way of example, when a vacancy occurred in the office of Chief Marshal, the candidates required: “Approved qualification in Public Administration AND Para-legal Studies” among other things. The qualifications were changed by replacing “AND” with “OR” in order to facilitate the preferred candidate.

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An Outdated Legal System In Need Of Leadership

Attorney General and Home Affairs Minister Adriel Brathwaite

The arrest of the venerable lawyer Leroy Lynch on a 2.2 million fraud charge  on the weekend, has sent ripples through the legal fraternity and wider society. Why would Mr. Lynch, who has represented First Caribbean International Bank, and before that CIBC for many years, sought to perpetrate fraud has proved to be incomprehensible to BU. It will be interesting to observe the Director of Public Prosecutor’s argument.

The Lynch issue has served yet again to catapult the legal profession into the public eye. The recently appointed President of the Barbados Bar Association (Bar) Andrew Pilgrim, and his early struggle to transmit an unequivocal position on behalf of the Bar regarding the decision to amend the law to accommodate the appointment of incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson, is symptomatic of something greater. Last week retired jurist and former Attorney General Sir Frederick Smith was surprisingly censored on a talk show when he attempted to speak about the cabals which exist inside the Bar.

BU’s investigation has turned up that they are those who operate within the realm of the judicature whose power structures have suddenly become threatened by the imminent arrival by someone outside the inner circle.  Now that the government has shown it is determined to appoint Marston Gibson, some members of the Bar might be seen as  using intimidatory tactics to signal to Gibson his life will be very uncomfortable sitting on the Bench should he accept the job. In a nutshell the appointment of Marston Gibson will disrupt a pecking order which is sure to irritate the fraternity of men in wigs who gather in the back rooms to toss back glasses of Sherry from time to time before handing down their decisions.

Many may become distracted with the the issues being generated by the appointment of incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson but a clog in the wheel to dispensing justice in Barbados has been the inefficiency of the Court Registry. The leadership of the Registry has demonstrated over time to be highly incompetent. Could it be there is a fear  Gibson will actually expect the leadership of the Court Registry to ‘up their game’?

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Manipulating The Law To Accommodate Marston Gibson

Submitted by Thomas A. Harper


Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

There is much speculation as to whether the criteria that determines the eligibility of a person to serve as Chief Justice of Barbados will be manipulated to accommodate the appointment of the candidate favoured to fill that post.

To suggest that such a blatant act of self-serving connivance could even be contemplated by a government of Barbados regardless of party, would give rise to the frightening prospect that the end of democracy as was enjoyed under past regimes is now under serious threat.

Is it inconceivable that the integrity of our country could be irreparable tarnished simply to lend credence to a decision reached without the benefit of due diligence?

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High Expectations On The Appointment Of Andrew Pilgrim To Lead The Barbados Bar Association

Andrew Pilgrim, Attorney-at-Law

BU read the the views expressed by outgoing President of the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) Leslie Haynes QC which were pressed recently by a local newspaper and was left to ask the question – how did he [Haynes] advance the BBA in the last year? Quoting the article,  Haynes, who did not seek re-election at yesterday’s annual general meeting, also called on Government to put a new Land Title Act on the statute books. BU’s expectation at Haynes’ appointment as President of BBA that he would have blazed a legacy of merit was never pitched very high anyway.

Haynes’ biggest contribution as President of the BBA would have been his utterance which condemned the appointment of incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson. Perhaps it is one he will regret. BU’s position on the appointment of Gibson is a matter of record. His selection from outside the inner ring recommends him most, the fact that he is an eminently qualified Barbadian is beyond dispute.

In the same way our expectation of Haynes was anchored very low we hold the opposite view for his replacement based on information which comes from a reliable source. The election of Andrew Pilgrim as President of the BBA signals that there are some in the legal community who yearn for a new dispensation.

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Questions Sent To Incoming Chief Justice Marston Gibson

Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

Dear Mr Gibson,

Now that it is confirmed that you are to be the new Chief Justice of Barbados, the BU family has some questions to put to you. These questions are not political in nature, but solely about the judicial system which you are to head.

  • At present, when counsel wishes to commence proceedings or serve documents such as statements of defense, affidavits etc., it is required that they have these documents sworn at the Registry, obtain certified copies and then serve these by personal service on the other parties, either personally or on their counsel. Do you anticipate streamlining this by, perhaps, allowing such documents to be sworn before any attorney-at-law licensed to practice in Barbados, filing copies with the Court/Registry and then effecting service on the other parties by mail or fax, using an affidavit of service sworn by the person who posted the documents/sent the fax, as back-up?
  • At present, small claims matters are cumbersome. Do you anticipate introducing an internet system by which these matters can be filed and argued and, only where necessary, involve appearances? In other words, simplify the process of small claims so that litigants in these will not be disadvantaged if they choose to represent themselves, rather than incurring the (sometimes greater than the claim) expense of being represented by counsel?
  • It is clear that the case management system does not work. What changes do you anticipate introducing in case management?
  • There is a considerable back-log of cases before the courts (both civil and criminal). How do you propose to get rid of this back-log in general terms?
  • There are many cases that have remained part-heard for years. The usual excuse is that the judge has been assigned to assizes or has too heavy a case load. What measures do you propose to introduce to solve this problem?

Related Link:

A Dispassionate Clarification On The Appointment Of Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

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A Dispassionate Clarification On The Appointment Of Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

The name of the author (lawyer) has been withheld by BU


Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

IN 1973, Lord Reid, had occasion to comment on an apparent absurd legal conclusion which arose in the case HAUGHTON v SMITH.  The absurdity arising from the decision in a Lower Court was that the law had made it possible to steal from an empty pocket.  Reflecting on an earlier assessment by Mr. Bumble of Dickensian fame, the learned Law Lord remarked “the law may sometimes be an ass but it cannot be so asinine as that.” The absurd notion was therefore rejected.

The Nation’s Editorial of Monday 13 December 2010 caused me to reflect on the above assessment. The emphatic and unambiguous assessment of the writer was that a person who had practiced in India or any other Commonwealth country for a period of fifteen years was qualified to be appointed Chief Justice of Barbados; Mr. Marston Gibson who qualified to practice in the Courts of Barbados and was admitted to practice in 1981, WAS NOT.  It was the most magnificent piece of foolishness I had ever seen in the editorial of a newspaper and which was being passed off as informed comment.

The genesis of the debate surrounding the appointment of the Chief Justice which has taken on a very unfortunate political element may be located in the last appointment when Mr. David Simmons, the then Attorney General was appointed Chief Justice.  Further fuel was added to the already inflamed political passions when the political directorate refused an extension of his tenure earlier this year and he had to demit office.  This unfortunate event has in my view stripped the debate on the new appointment of the much desired objectivity; I shall therefore try, by this contribution, to give some greater insight into the law affecting the appointment of a Chief Justice.

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Barbados Can Learn From United Kingdom’s Money Claim Online

If the analysis of our leading political correspondent is to be accepted, it appears Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart, who is said to be a student of history, is loath to make important political decisions  during the Yuletide Season because of a fear of having to suffer the wrath of a Christian nation.  In his Sunday article, Albert Brandford opined that Prime Minister Stuart would have observed how Barbadians reacted to former Prime Minister Arthur’s announcement of a general election date in December 2007. To support Brandford’s position the local press reported today the candidate to contest the St. John bye-election will be known on January 2, 2012.

Barbados Underground regrets that another decision of significant national import continues to be influenced by political  demagoguery; or so it seems. The appointment of former Chief Justice David Simmons was also fraught with controversy. BU agreed with many at the time who believed the decision to appoint a politician of current vintage to the post of Chief Justice, smacked of insensitivity and signalled a dangerous intervention by the Executive into the realm of the independent arm of  the Judiciary. Yet again Barbados finds itself in a shroud of controversy carping the appointment of one of the most important positions in our system of governance. The suspicion that Prime Minster Stuart maybe weighing political considerations with the appointment of Marston Gibson at a time when our judicature is labouring to dispense justice is unfortunate. The adage ‘justice delayed, is justice denied’ has become a common characterization of our Court System in recent years.

A common concern resonating from Barbadians posted on BU is the difficulty of filing and managing small claims matters in our Courts. It is no secret the Barbados Court System is designed to make it mandatory for lawyers to be involved in the most routine matters. While such an arrangement will favour lawyers with the opportunity to earn fees, it serves as a deterrent for ordinary Barbadians who would turn to the Court, as Ralph Thorne QC recently recommended, to seek redress. How can we have justice if a large part of the populace believes it is not a ready option to seek justice?

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Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart Expected To Throw His Backing Behind The Appointment Of Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson In The Face Of Moves To Build Roadblocks

Chief Justice Designate Marston Gibson

Today’s Nation newspaper headline cries, CJ Hitch!

It was back in August BU broke the story – Barbados Government Selects Next Chief Justice From Outside The Inner Ring – of Marston Gibson’s selection as Chief Justice (CJ) Designate. His appointment was heralded then by Barbados Underground (BU) and we continue to support Gibson’s selection moreso in light of today’s Nation report. It is an open secret, endorsed by many who practice law and interact closely with the Judiciary, it is in urgent need of leadership from the top. A hindrance to accomplishing much needed efficiency within the bowels of our judicature has been the inability of recent CJs to make waste of the boys club of lawyers which has throttled the efficiency and effectiveness of Barbados’ Court System.

The Nation article exposes the move by ‘some’ who have hijacked our Judiciary and now feel threatened by the coming of the 13th Chief Justice from outside the inner ring. We ask Barbadians to support Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart who is unfamiliar in the role of kicking butt, one which the late Prime Minister David Thompson performed with some competency as evidenced by his selection of CJ Designate Gibson. It is instructive when former President of the Barbados Bar Association (BBA) Wilfred Abrahams was asked by the local media to comment on Gibson’s selection he was conditional in his congratulations. He took the opportunity to inform the public that in his opinion suitable home grown candidates were available. On another occasion while on a radio talk show he was heard questioning the non extension of David Simmons’ term. Perhaps all has been explained with the selection of Wilfred Abrahams to represent the Barbados Labour Party in Christ Church East in the coming general election.

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