Trinidad and Tobago Chief Justice Suspended – Sinister Politics Or Protecting Democracy? (And A Word About Barbados’ Chief Justice)

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No One Is Above The Law – But Society Had Better Be Careful When Messing With A Chief Justice

Satnarine Sharma, Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago, has been suspended by T&T’s President George Maxwell Richards. This has to do with allegations that Sharma attempted to influence the outcome of a court case against former Prime Minister Badeo Panday. (You can read about this story at Caribbean360.com here.)

In our view, any action against a Chief Justice or any judge is a most serious matter. We cannot have judges (especially a Chief Justice) continually worried about frivolous complaints or politically-motivated challenges to their authority and position. This doesn’t mean that we give judges license to break the law, it means that we recognize that the independence of an honest judiciary is one of the cornerstones of democracy. When anyone challenges the actions or integrity of a judge all citizens should pay careful attention because there is much more at stake than the integrity or competence of a judge as a person.

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Barbados Chief Justice Under A Cloud?

Here in Barbados our Chief Justice David Simmons has recently been named in a civil lawsuit that also names the Prime Minister and many other prominent Barbados citizens and businesses. As we read the lawsuit, it is alleged that the government and business people have conspired over the last twenty years to commit unethical and possibly illegal acts to make a profit for themselves.

Firstly, a reminder to all that allegations are just allegations and nothing is proven unless and until it is proven properly in a court.

Here is the problem as we see it…

We would love to come to the defense of Barbados’ Chief Justice and say “Nonsense, the Chief Justice has never been involved in politics or land development or land transactions for the government.”

But we can’t say that because our current Chief Justice had 25 years of government and backroom-boys’ politics before he put on a Judge’s robes.

Only weeks before being appointed as Chief Justice, David Simmons was a Cabinet Minister under the current Prime Minister. For that reason alone we were disappointed that Mr. Simmons accepted the position of Chief Justice as we believed that his appointment lacked the important appearance of independence right from the start. Once again, this is not to say that David Simmons does not or did not have the knowledge or integrity necessary for the position – we objected because his background in the rough and tumble world of Barbados politics made him an unwise choice for the position of Chief Justice.

Now we have allegations surfacing from before David Simmons became our Chief Justice – and that is unfortunate to say the least. Whether the allegations are true or not, and even if they occurred long ago during his political backroom days, it still throws a bit of a cloud over the OFFICE of the Chief Justice. That’s just reality.

Every Bride Is A Virgin – Or So They Say!

They say that every bride instantly becomes a virgin again on her wedding day (at least Auntie Moses says so!) and I guess we all hoped that a similar process would happen when David Simmons became Chief Justice.

But just like a newly “re-virginated” bride can sometimes have old lovers walk embarrassingly back into her life, David Simmons has found that his new judicial robes can’t free him of decades of backroom deals, favours asked and favours granted – and the political and economic strategies that he and his BLP Government Cabinet dreamed up and implemented.

Let’s hope that the allegations against David Simmons are eventually disproven, but Barbados should remember this lesson when it comes time to appoint a new Chief Justice.

Previous Article: Lawsuit Update: Nelson Barbados Group Ltd Against Prime Minister Arthur, Chief Justice Simmons, David Shorey And Many Others

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12 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

12 responses to “Trinidad and Tobago Chief Justice Suspended – Sinister Politics Or Protecting Democracy? (And A Word About Barbados’ Chief Justice)

  1. Crusty

    Well written BFP. This is a balanced, considerate
    post about an issue that should be of concern to all
    persons interested in transparency and integrity in
    the judicial system. Such is a prerequisite for the
    same in general society. One can not expect the
    inmates to behave when the gatekeepers do not.

  2. Red Lake Lassie

    I am as much a virgin as Chief Justice Simmons!

  3. Red Lake Lassie

    Just ask my children! 😉

  4. Anonymous

    Good post BFP and a very good example of why Simmons was the wrong choice for Barbados.

  5. sad

    Sleepy Smith was very vocal when Sir David was appointed: it would be interesting to hear his views now.
    I agree it was one of BFP’s better articles..

  6. stevenjules

    brilliant blog site been living back here 4 year’s didn’t know that there were people in barbados who thought like me, most bajans I have met Just seem to think that the present gov are knights on white chargers and can do no wrong, glad to have stumbled on your website and have found links to others will be reading and posting keep up the good work.

  7. Jesse

    What is stopping the next DLP government from appointing Mr. Freundel Stuart as the next CJ? I just don’t understand politics or politicians. May be it is my fault because I expect them to have puritanical qualities but as I open my eyes more and more it makes me realize that today’s politician is all about self gratification, self indulgence, self serving, self first and country last. We Bajans always end up holding the messed up side of the stick.

  8. Pride of Barbados

    Jesse,

    I feel your pain and yet I’m not a youngster like you. I hope you are wrong in your suggestion that the DLP could very well appoint Freundel Stuart as C.J. Perish the thought! The man is a racist for a start.

  9. Jesse

    Freundel Stuart in a DLP administration will most likely be the next Attorney General. For starters he would be appointed as a QC, then when David Simmons retires in three to five years or if he is offered the job as CJ of the CCJ the DLP would have no choice but to appoint him as CJ Barbados. This is because the BLP has filled the benches with non DLP judges over the last 14 years and in order to control the justice system them will appoint Freundel Stuart. Is he a racist? Where is the evidence? I must admit that he seems uncomfortable, to say the least, around any high brown Bajans. David Thompson better watch his back (side).

  10. John

    Jesse

    Let life unfold on its own.

    When you begin to realise that the 30 MP’s really don’t affect Barbados for the good but can be deadly when it comes to screwing things up you will begin to understand it is we who determine what things are like in BIM.

    We, the other 270,000 or so, make it good, and we can stop these clowns, regardless of party from making it bad.

    We just need to stand up and be counted.

    Remember the refrain from a couple of years ago in the Calypso Tents … “We don’t have to settle for less..”

    Don’t accept crap.

    If you see it, just step on it, ….. you know, …. mash it in de ground!!

  11. Jesse

    Well said John.

  12. mark

    What about police brutality in Bim, and all the cover ups?