When and where ignorance rears its head it must be exposed for what it is. When it occurs within the realm of the judiciary that is responsible for the administration of justice – the foundation of an orderly society- it definitely is cause for concern.
The incident reported by the Trinidad Express that a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) judge and his wife attempted to sell (scalp) two complimentary tickets, and when the driver of the CCJ ‘humbly refused’ and expressed his disappointment that the CCJ’s wife behaviour – the instigator of the scalping – reflected poorly on the CCJ, the CCJ judge asked for a replacement driver.The story gets more intriguing.
The CCJ acceded to the request of the judge and assigned a replacement driver, the attempted scalper (the judge) refused to accept the new driver and demanded an allowance to privately recruit a driver. Although the CCJ Registrar and Chief Marshal Paula Pierre [who] analysed the incident and the judge’s demand in correspondence to the [Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission] RJLSC, dated April 29, 2013, concluded that “…the Court administration has been delegated the responsibility to select and appoint drivers for the organisation. This would include the judges’ drivers and the messengers/drivers for the office vehicles. The Court would have the corresponding responsibility to pay the judges’ drivers under the terms and conditions set out… This does not mean, however, that a judge cannot hire his own driver, at his own expense, for unofficial commitments.”
Interesting to note despite the findings of the CCJ Registrar, a driver’s allowance was approved for the attempted scalper (the judge). The approval request submitted to Caricom from the underutilized CCJ again is interesting- “At its 87th meeting, the Commission approved an exception to the current Terms and Conditions of Judges approved by the Heads and Governments and indicated that a monthly driver’s allowance be paid to Justice (name called) in the amount of US$1,226.33 without benefits retroactive to October 2013. This is in lieu of having a driver from the Court. The judge is therefore expected to make his own arrangements with regard to retaining a driver to meet his needs.”
BU regards the decision of the CCJ and Caricom to approve an allowance, AND, the behaviour of the CCJ judge and his wife to be the highest level of ignorance in response to a trivialism. This naked level of poor decorum coming from the highest court in the region should provoke Caribbean citizens to take note.
BU compliments the driver whose behaviour, as reported, was more judicial then the judge.
Read the full text of the report .
Submitted by Douglas
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted in Blogging
Tagged Bajan News, Barbados, Barbados Judiciary, Barbados Politics, Blogging, Caribbean Court of Appeal, Caricom, Caricom News, CCJ, Governance, Hal Austin