Two lawyers declared on public radio today [12/09/2015] that the judicial system is a mess. While it is easy to dismiss the view of Gregory Nicholls, a light weight member of the legal fraternity, his colleague Andrew Pilgrim was quick to concur to give heft to the problem.
June Fowler, head of BIPA Photo credit: Caribbean360
BU is perplexed by the latest news in this mess, in which it is reported that the BIPA (Barbados Investors Policyholders Alliance) aka CLICO investors – represented by Mr Alair Shepherd QC – has refused to stay the action against the CLICO directors. It is noted that the FSC is represented in this matter by Mr Adrian King.
BU’s attention was initially grabbed (or as it transpires, misdirected and sidetracked) by the fact that Mr Shepherd and Mr King both practice out of Inn Chambers and BU asked for clarification that, although Mr Shepherd and Mr King both practice from the same chambers, they are NOT partners, but ARE, in fact, individual counsel who simply share facilities. As such, therefore, there is no impropriety, nor does BU even suggest such of the two counsel named.
That disclaimer and clarification having now been made, BU asks its family and legal eagles to weigh in as to whether BIPA has the standing to bring its action against the CLICO directors, or not. If not, as this whole CLICO mess is of massive importance to Bajans in general, on what basis BIPA has refused to stay its action? Is there any merit in pursing an action that will be stayed at the end of the day?
Madame Justice Sandra Mason being sworn in recently to act as Governor General
MADAM JUSTICE SANDRA MASON: BU was laudatory in our approval of the recognition given to Madam Justice Sandra Mason by her appointment as acting Governor General. Indeed, BU broke this story you may recall. However out of transparency because it is our way, we have to report that some time ago a constitutional action was filed by Mr Alair Shepherd QC, on behalf of one of his clients, against Madam Justice Mason for exactly the same reasons as that filed against Madam Justice Kentish. Mr Shepherd’s client contended that Madam Justice Mason had failed to do her job, this breaching his client’s constitutional rights. BU continue to follow-up to discover if this action has since been abandoned, after Madam Justice Mason delivered her long-reserved judgement mere days AFTER the action was filed. BU notes that because the long-reserved judgement was delivered, it does not in any way negate the action filed against Madam Justice Mason, which may attract damages. BU hopes to be able to report more on this in due course.
MR JUSTICE RANDALL WORRELL: It appears that Mr Alair Shepherd has also filed an action under the Constitution against Mr Justice Randall Worrell for exactly the same reasons as those filed against Madam Justice Mason and Madam Justice Kentish (filed by another law firm). The action in which Mr Shepherd alleges that Worrell J has been recalcitrant and breached the Constitution may well have a defense, however. The action deals with an appeal against costs awarded the defendants in an action and taxed by the Registrar. Worrell J’s defense (which, on the face of it appears insurmountable) lies in the fact that he may be deemed to be unable to render any judgement, until the Registrar has found and produced to him her documents and notes on her taxation of costs. It is this assessment of costs by the Registrar which is appealed by Mr Shepherd’s client. Seems that the Registrar (this time personally) has lost these files and notes. The Registrar claims that these important documents were lost during the move from the old Registry to its new premises. Well, the Registrar is certainly consistent and has clearly set another shining example for her staff. Time she was let go as a clear and unambiguous example to her staff.
We started the series in an effort to highlight a judicial system in terminal decline that lacks any credibility anywhere, a Chief Justice whose efforts to correct this are being constantly obstructed and frustrated by appointees from a previous administration and a Government that surely MUST now step in and aggressively support the Chief Justice and fire or discipline any and all who seek to obstruct him in the exercise of his office.
BU also invited private and confidential e-mails from its readers on their own experiences with the Justice System and is now following leads and verifying information on submissions. If we find there to be merit in them, we will name and shame without compunction.
We have also opted to follow up the progress of stories that we had reported on previously, but had chosen not to go into details on then, due to the fact that they were before the courts at the time. However, what we discovered dismayed the BU household to such an extent that whether or not they are before the Courts, they demonstrate a degree of incompetence by the courts that is frankly shocking. Due to this, we hold that these stories are of public interest and refuse to defer to anybody that uses convention as a shield behind which to hide their own incompetence.
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.