We see the ruling on Dr Ishmael has at last been given by the courts. The Nation has published the decision which is highly unflattering to the MoH and the QEH. BU refers readers to the recent Tales From The Courts, where some of the issues discussed are similar and pertinent to this edition. The decision on this particular matter was reserved by Madam Justice Cornelius since 30 March 2011, a period of 818 days, or 2 years 2 months and 26 days. INEXCUSABLE!!!
It is not for the judge to take into consideration that Dr Ishmael is back at the QEH. The judge’s SOLE concern, other than the constitutional rights of the litigants, ought to have been the fact that there was a matter before her that might seriously, fatally and detrimentally affect the health of patients at the QEH. Indeed, this might be considered a matter affecting public policy and therefore to be accorded the urgency of any public policy matter. Instead, Madam Justice Cornelius took almost 2.25 YEARS to provide a judgement that ought to have been produced in a maximum, given the potential prejudice that delay would cause, of 60 days.
Thus, has Madam Justice Cornelius BETRAYED the trust and best interests of the people of Barbados and for that she deserves to be instantly suspended pending the outcome of an enquiry to dismiss her. Additionally, judges are expected to render decisions within 60 days, with an outside limit of 90 days for complex cases. Regardless of the circumstances between Dr Ishmael and the QEH, Madam Justice Cornelius has egregiously and improperly breached the Constitution.
BU is advised that the unconscionable delay by Madam Justice Cornelius was such that the parties had finally decided to meet last week to broker a settlement of the issue. The sole reason they did NOT meet was because Mr. Leslie Haynes QC, counsel for Dr Ishmael, was out of the country.
It does not escape BU that, had the parties been able to meet, the whole matter would likely have been quietly settled with no political backlash as occasioned by the judgement. It therefore begs the question why, after 2 years 2 months and 18 days, Madam Justice Cornelius rushed to pre-empt a settlement by finally delivering her judgement. It is also a fact that no prior notice of the delivery of the long-delayed judgement was given to the parties or their counsel, but was sprung upon all on Monday morning, necessitating counsel to undertake emergency rescheduling and beg the indulgence of other courts before which they were scheduled to appear.
While BU, and indeed most of Barbados, has long considered that the conduct meted out to Dr Ishmael was illegal and reflected poorly, not only on the QEH, but also on the Minister of Health, BU must now reflect on an even more serious matter. That is, the possible political manipulation of the courts for political ends.
BU does not take sides in this issue as both the actions of the MoH and the QEH were wrong, as well as the rush to deliver a long-deferred judgement for by the judge. HOWEVER, of the two, the overwhelming prejudice to the people of Barbados lies in the actions of Madam Justice Cornelius who, not content with betraying the Bajan public with a decision in a matter touching on our health service by delaying same for 2 years 2 months and 18 days, has clearly delivered that decision, not for the sake of long-delayed justice, but for political ends.
On 16 August 2010, the CCJ handed down its judgment in the case of Gibson v The Attorney General. http://www.worldcourts.com/ccj/eng/decisions/2010.08.16_Gibson_v_Attorney_General.htm. BU is aware that this is a matter of criminal law, but can anyone refute that the principals apply to all aspects of the Barbados Justice System?
Of particular note is paragraph  and  of the judgement to pay attention of which will likely cause all Bajans to boil:
Blackman J’s judgment indicates that counsel appearing on behalf of the Attorney General submitted to the judge that “delays were typical in Barbados and consequently ought to be tolerated” (para 53). The judge also records (para 65) that another counsel had deposed that, “[w]ith the notable exception of the court presided over by Magistrate Pamela Beckles, a …preliminary inquiry into a charge of murder generally takes between one to four years to commence” and that “the Crown takes a very long time to respond” to requests for disclosure of the statements of witnesses. If these statements are accurate, and there was nothing to suggest that they were not, members of the Barbadian public have every right to be concerned about what may be considered as blots on the criminal justice system.”
BU wishes to enquire as to the name of the person from the Attorney General’s office who said, “delays were typical in Barbados and consequently ought to be tolerated” AND YES, CCJ, WE IN BARBADOS ARE VERY CONCERNED, BUT ABOUT THE ENTIRE STATE OF THE JUDICIARY AND WE DO CONSIDER IT TO BE A BLOT ON THE REPUTATION OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY!
As for the Opposition, the mess originates with them. And as we look at this latest from Madam Justice Cornelius, we know WHY. But, the CCJ continues.
To be fair, inordinate delays are not unique to the State of Barbados. They are prevalent in other Caribbean States as well. But this provides no justification for countenancing delay. Some States have actually made assiduous efforts to address the problem. The authorities in Saint Lucia, for example, have embarked upon such a course. It has involved the overhaul of the entire criminal justice system harnessing in the process the efforts of all the important sectors that have roles to play in it whether from the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary.[FN26] From all accounts it would appear that the measures taken, which seemed not to have required enormous expenditure, are yielding some measure of success.”
It seems abundantly clear that almost the entire bench needs to be replaced in Barbados. Delivering JUSTICE continues to be under threat.