CJ Marston Gibson Has Mountain To Climb

Chief Justice Marston Gibson

… we have a lot of blogs [BU] on the subject, but don’t you think that two months has been enough time for the CJ to have clearly thrown down some kind of gauntlet?
…like a maximum time for a judgement to be completed or else….
…like an analysis of outstanding judgements and serious actions taken against the worse defaulters. When can we expect some kind of action? In 11 years or so…? –
Bush Tea


Barbadians who expect the job of incoming CJ to be a breeze obviously have no appreciation for the  gargantuan task which confronts the gentleman. To those who expected significant changes or announcements after two months is like turning water into wine. The Barbados Judiciary has been decaying for for several years despite plaudits and conferral of knighthoods. The yardstick to measure the efficiency of Barbados Courts must be the extent to which justice is denied because it was delayed. Palatial judicial buildings,  wig clad QCs, smooth talking Attorney Generals, comparison to other jurisdictions mean nothing unless matters are processed efficiently and justice is seemed to be done.

If the task of the CJ was one hindered by the lack of resources, financial or human, Barbadians would have cause to be optimistic. The gargantuan task becomes vivid now that the CJ has had time to appreciate that key personnel in the judiciary and support government departments lack the know how to administer the system efficiently.

Here are a few examples to assist with outlining the challenge which the CJ faces:

Costs: Unlike some other countries, when the Registrar taxes costs in a matter, it is done based on the entire file. All the particulars of letters written when, what affidavits have been drafted and filed etc. are considered to determine hours.  In some other jurisdictions, the rules applied are different, for example counsel are required to submit itemised bills of costs. Many members of the judiciary appear to be ignorant of the Barbados rules and try to apply rules from other countries, like the UK.  Even the judges suffer from this education deficit of Barbados rules.

Letters to the Registrar: Ordinary Barbadians and companies struggling in the harsh economic environment have to pay good money to the army of lawyers to write letters to the Registrar. When the Registrar does not respond – and BU does not care what the reason is – it means more money has to be spent to repeat the process.

Access to Judges: So many time lawyers on both sides have asked to speak to judges pre-trial on matters that might be considered to be pre-trial motions. To be expected, what is normally a routine request in other countries it is impossible to get a response in Barbados. Such a process usually has the effect of speeding up matters. We have cases which have been lodged in our court system for 12 years, incredible but true.

Lack of knowledge of law and the rules: Every time an under qualified person makes a mistake in the Judiciary or government department that supports the Judiciary there is a cost. Money and time then has to be spent correcting it. Obviously if it is not corrected, it propagates and the system becomes trapped in a sea of inefficiency. The enormity of the task for CJ Gibson becomes apparent when these wrongs are repeated in an aged old system. In this scenario ordinary Barbadians become hostage by a system meant to dispense justice in their favour but fails to deliver because John Citizen does not have the money to right the wrong.

If CJ Gibson is to make a mark Barbadians will have to embrace some realities: At the same time Government must work with the CJ by making available the required resources and ‘muscle’.

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66 responses to “CJ Marston Gibson Has Mountain To Climb

  1. @Hants

    You are trivializing the matter.


  2. My apologies to you David for trivializing the matter. I will not comment any further.


  3. @Hants

    Why are you so sensitive on the matter?

    The magistrate already outlined her hands were tied in the maxium sentence she could have administered.

    The DPP is the person who determined the pat this case should follow.

    You should read Yardbroom’s submission, a boy was killed but how did it happened? what evidence should the Court use to evaluate and issue sentence?

    People from all walks of live walk out of Barbados Courts monthly after being chaged with involuntary manslaufghter. It is nothing new.


  4. Carson C. Cadogan


    Min. Steve Blackette’s father died this morning in Canada. RIP.


  5. @ Hants
    Sounds like you would want to punish someone for committing suicide.
    Foolishly and carelessly causing the death of your own and only beloved son is MUCH worse a fate than suicide…..

    What possible further punishment would (could) you recommend?


  6. @Bush Tea
    I am no longer commenting on the matter.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a prosperous new year.


  7. come on Hants defend your position.No one likes a quitter. i think you have good grounds for cause and reason. i am the thirtheen juror. now plea your case .


  8. @ac merry Christmas to you and yours. I quitting the negativity and starting up the niceness now.

    I taking Johnny For a Walk er… outta de likka cabinet to start de season off real good.


  9. look hants take the party on de merry xmas blog i gonna be ova there to have a drink wid you.BAF and kikik and de slandgal and others stop by i tink David is de DJ. so bring de licka and we can partiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitill Xmas, BTW i see GEORGIE PORGIE he drop by but didn’t say toomuch. Lookin fuh yuh ova day uh here.


  10. To Yard Broom:;
    You really can not be serious. There are too many instances in Barbados where having money made a difference in the way you are treated by the police, public prosecutors and the judiciary. Remember N. E. Wilson rape case; remember Duman killing his wife; remember Mick Jagger’s wife and her dope in the suit case, and remember currently the pilot bring dope to Barbados. What do you tell the sardine thief who is given time for a tin of sardines. What are we saying about what kind of society we are. The only person who responded well to him killing his son were the Americans. They put him in JAIL; we brought him back and gave him bail and leave to vacation in Miami. Yard Broom do not continue to sell your soul! Take the white thing off the table!!


  11. @lemuel

    Having money allows those to buy the best legal and it is not unique to Barbados. We have to separate the issues.


  12. To David:
    If he had done what he did in the US the book would have been thrown at him. His expensive lawyers would then have to figure out how to extricate him. The DDP slapped him on the wrist and no one in Barbados was surprised at least not me. I do not have a problem with rich people purchasing their representation; I have a problem with us always capitulating when we need to enforce the law. the DPP should be held accountable for this madness that Barbara Cook had to deal with.


  13. @lemuel

    Agree that the focus should be on the DPP and not the decision by the court. The maximum sentence under the charge was 3 months.


  14. To David:
    The DPP is a powerful office and Caswell or one of the other legal eagles would have to indicate what are the provisions for reigning or censuring the holder of the office. But on the surface it looks really bad. Barbados can not seriously talk about approaching first world status if this is the way we dispense justice. Right now we are just below the rank of banana republic. That office ALONE decides what and how the accused shall be charged. I think the current DPP may have been in that position too long. They need to make room and make him a judge, at least the accused can appeal.


  15. Hi lemuel Dec, 23, 2011 at 8:07am
    I am very serious indeed.

    When you are in a position to administer the Laws of the land you are not there to be vindictive.

    That “some” in Barbados have failed to perform that function – of fairness in Law – satisfactorily is no reason for me to climb into that vortex.

    We talk of the white man this, and the white man that.

    The “truth” is there are few places in the world that a black population have as much power at their disposal as they do in Barbados; do we use it satisfactorily? No, we do not and that is not the fault of the white man, that is our fault.

    You have bought into building the white man as some sort of bogey man; wrong focus, focus on what black people “collectively” can do that is how real progress can be made.

    You must endeavour to change the system which allows the decisions to which you have alluded to happen. There is a cancer at the root here and if he was given “fifty years” in Dodds that would not change the system.

    Any-how this is Christmas have a happy holiday with family and friends.


  16. One can help but wonder in the Berjkham case giving the same circumstances if this was a poor person if he would be free to spend time with his loved ones at Xmas or would he be still awaiting trial locked up in Dodds until whenever . One can;t help but Wonder! So to downplay the Money card and only focus on Race is disingenuous and shortsighted. there is a saying.”Money talks bull sh…t walks”


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