An article in the Nation News is interesting for what it says – and doesn’t say – about the court system in Barbados. While speaking of the delays in family law situations in our court system, Chief Justice Sir David Simmons called for a “new culture” among lawyers to move cases along.
Simmons said “It isn’t fair on the parties, the counsellors, the children or the administration of justice… By the middle of next year, there will be completely new rules of court, that will radically transform the culture of litigation in Barbados. The judges will control the pace of litigation…”
The pace of the courts in Barbados has always been three steps forward and two steps back and anything that can be done to bring the pace of the justice system into the 20th Century would be welcomed. What we fear is that all these procedural changes will be viewed as somehow addressing the core problem of our judicial system – which is the unethical influence that any government of the day has over the prosecutors and the judges.
According to our Constitution, our courts are supposed to be independent of, and free from the influence of, the executive branch of our government. With a life-long professional politician and former Cabinet Member and Attorney General as our Chief Justice, no one in their right mind could say that our courts are anywhere near “independent”.
It is also true that our Chief Justice has a personal interest in the outcome of at least two cases now before his courts, yet there are no rules to govern his behaviour in this circumstance. (The two cases are the Ronja Juman case and the Kingsland matter.)
The Chief Justice and his fellow judges can talk all they want about computerisation, case management and other procedures to speed the course of justice, but all of these changes fail to address the core concern that our judicial system is built upon the corrupt foundation of political control and self-interest of the governing elites.
The Nation News Provides An Illustration Of The Lack Of Separation Between Government & Judges
As if to underline all our fears about the government, the prosecutors and the judges all being the same system, the Nation News article is called “AG: New Deal For Family Law”, but then fails to quote the AG (Attorney General) or anyone from that department in the entire article!
Instead, under the title of “AG: New Deal For Family Law”, we hear from the OLD Attorney General, Chief Justice David Simmons and then Justice Jacqueline Cornelius! Both are tight with the Owen Arthur government.
Yup, the courts, the judges, the prosecutors and the government are all the same.
Welcome to Barbados!
The Nation News – AG: New Deal For Family Law