Daily Archives: January 5, 2010

Lies of Omission: News articles, editorials, hide Chief Justice Simmons’ political background

Barbados lawyer Andrew Pilgrim is stupefied why the Thompson government sacked Chief Justice Simmons!

Barbados news media & lawyers Robert “Bobby” Clarke and Andrew Pilgrim try to suck and blow at the same time

Why, whatever could the matter be? According to the Barbados news media, it is so unfair and wrong that Chief Justice Sir David Simmons was not given the “normal” extension to allow him to continue in the position for two years past his 70th birthday.

“I think it is a political decision that has led to (Simmons) going home. I can’t envision why he was not offered an extension, as all the other chief justices have been given,”” says Andrew Pilgrim, one of two lawyers interviewed by the Nation newspaper in their article Lawyers’ Say.

The other lawyer, Robert “Bobby” Clarke, is puzzled as well – “Extending his term should have been automatic, unless there was a political variable inside there.”

Golly, Bobby, do ya think there is a “political variable” involved? Hmmmmmm? Whatever could it be? Bobby is mystified.

Then the Nation publishes the editorial Saluting Sir David’s services lauding Chief Justice Simmons and talking about what a surprise it is that he won’t be continuing as Chief Justice. Puzzled at the reasons behind this development, the editorial says “Whatever may be the factor, or factors that contributed to Sir David’s decision to retire with effect from April 29 – his 70th birthday…”

Now if you just arrived in Barbados from outer space or New Jersey and read these two Nation News articles you too might be puzzled as to the reasons why Simmons has been sent packing by the David Thompson DLP government of Barbados…

… because the articles NEVER MENTION that before David Simmons was Chief Justice for 7 years, he was a professional politician for 25 years.  A BLP Member of Parliament in Opposition and Government. A senior Cabinet Minister for three governments. Attorney General. Acting Prime Minister.

As a career politician, David Simmons should never have accepted the office of Chief Justice

The articles NEVER MENTION the controversy when then Prime Minister Owen Arthur appointed his old BLP friend Simmons as the new Chief Justice of Barbados – supposed to impartially and independently judge all matters while putting aside 25 years as a professional politician.

The articles NEVER MENTION the disgust at the time by people who were involved in legal battles with the Owen Arthur government when Attorney General David Simmons went from representing the government to being head of the courts that were supposed to judge their case against the same government!

The Nation News articles are lies.

They deliberately whitewash (or is that shitewash?) the fact that David Simmons has been fired because his original appointment was a Barbados Labour Party political strategy designed to exercise political control and influence over the Barbados courts. Simmons’ appointment effectively killed the separation of powers between the government and the judiciary. His appointment brought the administration of justice into disrepute and caused tens of thousands of Bajans to lose faith in the entire judicial system.

Prime Minister Thompson’s decision to sack Simmons as Chief Justice will go a long way to restoring the faith of the people in the independence of the courts – but only IF Thompson resists the temptation to appoint a DLP supporter as our highest judge.

Will our Prime Minister appoint a truly independent Chief Justice this time around? Or, like career politicians Owen Arthur and David Simmons did last time, will Thompson corruptly use the opportunity to further politicize the Barbados courts?

Stay tuned, folks!

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