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!

7 Comments

Filed under Barbados

7 responses to “Lies of Omission: News articles, editorials, hide Chief Justice Simmons’ political background

  1. Sir Wet

    A word to the wise which Sir David may have over looked as it applied to himself in this case – “Abstain (shun, avoid) from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

    I will not question is ability as a lawyer or judge but his appointment was questionable and yes I expected the DLP not to extend his term, Now David Thompson must also shun the appearance of evil with his next appointment. We can do with out the drama.

    Enjoy your retirement Sir David and please write of your experiences.

  2. reality check

    Yes BFP

    Members of a legal fraternity in a small society rub shoulders with each other on a daily basis. They are unable and afraid to stand up on matters of principle fearing they might offend one of their buddies. Vengeance and score settling is a pathetic little game actively played in Barbados to the exclusion of what is simply right and wrong.

    This is why your endless cry for ITAL, FOI and the like as well as independent citizen watchdog groups are critical to a re-balancing of the system of Justice and the balance of pwers in a truly democratic society. Without such legislation Barbadians must continue to whistle in the dark.

    Wake Up!

  3. ac

    In thursday jan 7th advocate news paper thereis an interesting article about Sir David Simmons

  4. Arthur

    It is amazing that the mainstream press has conspired to cover-up this travesty. The appointment of Simmons was one of the most cynical acts of arrogance by a Caribbean administration.

  5. Avatar Gurl

    Ummm…people don’t have memories, do they?

    Bajans SHOULD have an idea that David Simmons was in the BLP before he was Chief Justice…

    Maybe they just couldn’t make the connection as to what was wrong with that picture…or maybe they just didn’t care.

    Anyhows…that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Now that Simmons is had his fill of the money tree, he can leave in fat-bellied peace.

  6. ricky

    Is David thompson hiding.?? I “heard” he is at th helm etc of the country somehow noone can “hear nor see him”. The nation newspaper sleeping?? wha happen?? He was voted to public…..is he not a public figure.?? WHERE IS HE!!!

  7. Pieter Pieper

    Simmons never distinguished himself either as a lawyer or politician or chief justice. He was totally ineffective, out of touch and completely unconcerned about matters other than those which affected him personally. Only Mia Mottley, as attorney general,came close to being his equal.Barbadians must refrain from electing lawyers to represent in parliament and must unite and take to the streets to demonstrate against the abuse and exploitation the are suffering at the hand of members of the legal profession.

    (Balance of comment removed by editor because it came too close to the line for BFP.)