David Thompson pledges that our next Chief Justice will not be a political hack
It was a carefully worded comment delivered with all the outward innocence that an experienced lawyer like Prime Minister David Thompson could muster – but the intent and the impact of the Prime Minister’s words were devastating to the legacy and public memory of retiring Chief Justice Sir David Simmons.
It wasn’t just a slap in the face, Thompson kicked Sir David in the backside on his way out the door too…
Thompson added that he still held the firm belief that Sir David’s original appointment in January 2002 was wrong since it had been made after he was part of the executive or a former Government. “The circumstances of his appointment were wrong, and I don’t think you can cure it because you are a good Chief Justice,” Thompson added.
… from the Nation article PM sheds light on CJ issue.
It was Unethical for David Simmons to accept the office of Chief Justice
Before David Simmons and then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur engineered his “retirement” from government and almost immediate appointment as Chief Justice of Barbados, David Simmons 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.
Simmons’ appointment in 2002 was a Barbados Labour Party political strategy designed to exercise political control and influence over the Barbados courts. His appointment effectively killed the separation of powers between the government and the judiciary and brought the administration of justice into disrepute. David Simmons personally caused tens of thousands of Bajans to lose faith in the entire judicial system.
Prime Minister Thompson is aware of all that and he knows that his decision to sack Simmons as Chief Justice will go a long way to restoring the faith of the people in the independence of our courts.
Those crying that Simmons is hard done by need to get a reality check. Thompson could not possibly have extended the tenure of David Simmons because that would have been giving his stamp of approval to what he knew was an unethical appointment of Simmons in the first place.
Who will be our new Chief Justice of Barbados?
One thing is for sure, David Thompson won’t be appointing another political hack – nor will the lawyer class dictate the candidates. Our Prime Minister knows that the position of Chief Justice is far too important to leave to an agenda-driven legal profession…
“Chief Justices are not appointed to help lawyers. Chief Justices are appointed to dispense justice to citizens, so my choice for a Chief Justice is not going to be based on any cacophony of noise from the legal profession. Someone has to be chosen who has the integrity, the equanimity and the outlook that is consistent with modern Barbadian society and our quest for social justice… I am not sure that the legal profession is the best place for that argument,”
… Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson
What a novel idea! Prime Minister David Thompson will put citizens and justice first.
Dear Prime Minister Thompson,
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your public stance that it was wrong for David Simmons to be appointed as Chief Justice. Thank you for promising that our next Chief Justice will not be a politician or dictated by the lawyer class. Thank you for working to restore the faith of the people in our justice system.
Barbados Free Press
Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert and Auntie Moses
For the original Nation article quoting the Prime Minister, you should visit the Nation website: PM sheds light on CJ issue.
But just in case the Nation decides to change history as they sometimes do by re-writing or deleting news, here is the entire article in its original form…
PM sheds light on CJ issue
Published on: 2/12/2010.
PRIME MINISTER DAVID THOMPSON last night stoutly defended his position not to extend the tenure of former Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons. Continue reading