Tag Archives: CCJ

Prime Minister Stuart: Life in Barbados Continues as Normal

Submitted by Douglas
Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart delivered a wide ranging address at the Democratic Labour Party’s St. Philip North Branch meeting at the Hilda Skeene Primary School on Sunday, 13thOctober 2013.  In a packed room of branch members and party supporters, the DLP President and Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank the constituents of St. Philip North for their overwhelming support for Member of Parliament and Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley in the February 2013 General Elections.

He then went on to reassure those gathered that life in Barbados is normal despite what they had been hearing from an Opposition which he described as, “a hastily put together coalition of the restless, reckless and the rejected.”  He dismantled all of the recent Opposition attempts to foment unrest in Barbados by explaining the country’s position as it relates to the management of the economic challenges by protecting the foreign exchange reserves through the deficit reduction programme introduced in the 2013 Budgetary Proposals.

His wide-ranging presentation dealt with the payment of UWI tuition fees by Barbadian students, the status of temporary employees in the public service, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, the Transport Board and the CCJ’s Judgement in the Shanique Myrie Case.


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Does Barbados Aspire to Become the Warehouse and Whorehouse of Unskilled Labour in the Caribbean?

Canadian Court orders woman to removed Niqab

Canadian Court orders woman to remove Niqab

This week in the news we learned that a Canadian woman will have to remove her Niqab in order to testify against her attackers. This is a case which has occupied the attention of the Courts for five years – read Niqab ban in sexual assault trial causes controversy. Also in the news this week, and closer to home, we heard from Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade AJ Nicholson uttering his concern that Jamaica is not satisfied with how free movement of nationals across the Caribbean Community (Caricom) is being facilitated – read Nicholson to address Jamaican travel across CARICOM.

BU took interest in the comments of Nicholson because he pointed to the Shanique Myrie case which is pending before the Caribbean Court of Appeal. By doing so he made his intention obvious that Barbados was in his ‘gun sight’.

In strictly legal terms the two cases are unrelated BUT for BU the cases resonate because in the Canadian judgement there is a sense that the laws of Canada are in consonance with the expectation of mainstream society. In the case of the Myrie matter one gets the feeling that Barbados is being bombarded by some obligation under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas even at the risk of compromising its rights as a sovereign country. Are we a sovereign country or not? Why doesn’t Jamaica take a similar case to the World Court to challenge the decision to refuse their citizens entry into the USA, UK and several other developed countries which occur with frequency on a daily basis. If they were to pursue this avenue one may believe that their motive in the Myrie case is sincere.

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Shanique Myrie Goes to Court

Shanique Myrie

Shanique Myrie

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

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

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Notes From a Native Son: The Rise of Supranational Organisations May be Barrack’s Lifeline

Hal Austin

Hal Austin

Introduction:
Excuse me for being a bit more boring than usual this week, but bear with me as the issues I intend to discuss are of central importance to the constitutional and economic future of our tiny island. They impact on the juncture where law, financial services and macroeconomic policy meet. Equally, they may also impact on the disgraceful logjam that is preventing this rogue government from resolving the Bds$70m (and growing) problems it has with property developer Mr Barrack and its stubborn refusal to even treat the gentleman with common courtesy and respect.

But first, recently a leading public commentator criticised the lack of progress on the Caribbean Court of Justice and called for greater support from member-states of Caricom/CSME. This call coincided with a number of developments taking place in the US, Africa, South America and Europe, which have more or less reinforced my suggestion in another place that the Westphalian model of the nation-state is dying on its knees. Supranational organisations – the United Nations, International Criminal Court, etc, are taking control. It is the globalisation of our democratic structures.

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CCJ Justices Condemn Barbados JUDICIARY

CCJ Justices

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

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

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

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Notes From a Native Son – Is Our Institutional Democratic Deficit a Barrier To Our Economic Progress

Hal Austin

Introduction:
The Caribbean Court of Justice recently held its first meeting outside Trinidad, hearing the case of a young Jamaican woman allegedly assaulted by Barbadian border officials, and it was generally judged a success. In another development, a former Attorney General and Chief Justice has also revealed that it is his intention to put his side of the case why the late prime minister David Thompson refused to extend his term as the nation’s top judge.

Two events linked through David Simmons, the former AG’s push for the formation of the CCJ and the almost religious fervour in which the new nationalism, as reflected in the senior judge’s comments about the high level of presentation before the court. The CCJ judges, in summing up the success of the hearing, reportedly compared the high standard with the Privy Council and complimented the various attorneys on how well they presented their cases. It was rather strange comment, given that what he was in fact doing was complimenting them on their presentational competence, which I shall return to later.

However, this competition with the former colonial masters runs deep in contemporary Caribbean intellectual and professional discourse. Two examples remind me of this. I remember a Trinidad-born, Britain raised friend and I spending a long social evening in the company of a leading Barbadian legal beagle and his wife, and the conversation being dominated by this lawyer comparing himself with the Australia-born, Britain-based leading QC Geoffrey Robertson, a highly reputable radical lawyer and author, but nothing to write home about. Until then, I had made the obviously silly assumption that this particular Barbadian lawyer/politician, London-educated, was one of the brightest and best of his generation, full stop. It was only his clear insecurity that raised doubts in my mind.

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Shanique Scores First In The Shanique Myrie Versus Government Of Barbados Matter

Shanique Myrie

BU has resisted writing – up to now – about the Shanique Myrie matter. Many disagreed with Shanique Myrie’s legal advisors who made the decision to access the Caribbean Court Justice (CCJ) to rule on her (Myrie) right to move freely under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. After yesterday’s ruling by the CCJ to give special leave to Myrie to argue her case before the court, she must feel vindicated. This is against the background that many of our local legal beavers had opined that the CCJ has no jurisdiction in the matter until the case came to them on appeal from the Barbados courts. Barbados because we are a member of Caricom is bound by the interpretation of the  Caribbean Court of Justice  (CCJ) in all matters as it relates to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

If we suck all of the emotion out of the matter, the Shanique Myrie versus the Government of Barbados case will be followed with great interest across the region. To what extent will this case threaten the discretion which traditionally has been exercised by officers at ports of entry in Caricom countries? If Myrie continues her winning ways, it potentially could provoke some  countries  who are signatories, to question obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus as it relates to free movement of people.

To rub salt into the wound for some Myrie was awarded cost. To be fair it should be noted that at this stage the CCJ has given special leave to hear this matter i.e. the CCJ believes there is a case to be made. Myrie’s legal team now has to argue the case.

The following is reproduced from the Barbados Advocate and gives a good summary of the special sitting of the CCJ on the matter.

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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Heaps Scorn On Barbados Judges

The CCJ has struck at the Barbados courts once again. This time, the case is Sea Haven Inc. v Dyrud.

The CCJ noted that:

  • The case was commenced on June 06. 2002, but was not heard until February 07, 2007. Almost 5 years. Indeed, it has taken almost 10 years before the case finally completed its appeals.
  • The CCJ once again noted the totally unsatisfactory system of Barbados’ conveyancing laws and referred to its own decision in Colby v Felix Enterprises Ltd and Felix Broome Inc. that has already been ventilated and discussed here on BU.
  • The court found that the trial judge had ignored an essential point in reaching a decision.
  • In Clause [6] of the judgment, the CCJ, while admitting that the time taken by the High Court and the Barbados Court of Appeal were shorter than is the norm, still complained that the time was too long (High Court – from February 14, 2007 to May 21 2008 for written judgment, without which no appeal could be brought. Court of Appeal – October 08, 2008 to May 27, 2010 for the decision on appeal) and reiterated its view that judges should render decisions within 3 months or, in complex cases only, 6 months. Here, we have 15 months from the High Court and 19 months for the Court of Appeal decision. It is suggested that this may well constitute gross misconduct on the parts of the judges concerned (both High Court and Court of Appeal) and the remedies provided in the Constitution to sanction or dismiss them ought to be applied.

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The CCJ Has Now Constituted Itself as a Parliament

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

I must admit from the outset that I am out of my league, but that has never stopped me before, and I see no good reason why that should stop me now. Recently the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) gave a judgement in a Belize case that I thought would have been the talk of the town. Unfortunately, this landmark case appears to go unnoticed and I can’t wait any longer to have my say.

The present Attorney General of Belize brought an action for misfeasance in public office against two former ministers in the last administration. Misfeasance occurs when someone acts improperly or illegally in performing an action that is in itself lawful. Apparently those two ministers were responsible for the sale of government land, at a substantial loss, to a company owned by one of the same ministers.

The local court at first instance ruled that the Government could not sue using the tort of misfeasance in public office: it was not an action available to the State. The Attorney General appealed, and the Court of Appeal overturned that ruling. The former ministers then took the matter to the CCJ. That court was divided on the issue, but by majority decision they have given the Attorney General the right to sue for misfeasance in public office.

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Barbadian Public Officers Betrayed By Caribbean Court Of Justice

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was established mainly to replace the British Privy Council as the final court of appeal for Caricom member states. Originally, only two member states, Barbados and Guyana, signed on to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ. Belize followed recently. Since the court was established to service 14 member states and now only services three, it would appear that the CCJ is under worked.

One would have thought that since the court is not over burdened, it would be able to take time and deliver well researched and well reasoned decisions. Unfortunately for Barbadian public officers and persons employed at statutory boards, whose employees are pensionable under the Statutory Boards Pensions Act, that was not the case. On April 3, 2009, in the case between Winton Campbell and the Attorney General, the CCJ delivered a judgement that would deny public officers any benefits if their jobs were abolished, that is if they were severed, until they reach 60 years of age or sooner die.

Public workers who lose their jobs, through no fault of their own, are not entitled to receive severance payments or unemployment benefits. According to the CCJ, they would only be entitled to their last month’s pay and pay for any accumulated vacation immediately, and they would have to reach 60 years of age in order to get anything that is due to them.

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