Barbados Prime Minister slams retiring Chief Justice David Simmons over the ethics of Simmons’ appointment.

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.

Career politician is no independent judge

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.

Yours truly,

Barbados Free Press

Marcus, Shona, George, Cliverton, Robert and Auntie Moses

Further Reading

BFP, January 3, 2010: Barbados Labour Party finally loses control of Supreme Court – Chief Justice Simmons’ term not extended

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.

The decision, made late last year, had come under severe criticism by a number of members of Barbados’ legal fraternity.

But Thompson told reporters at his first Press conference for 2010, that he made the decision based on the amount of time that Sir David had indicated he would be available should the extension be granted, along with other factors. “The law entitles me to make such a determination,” the PM said.

He noted that he and the former Chief Justice had discussed the matter more than once, and he (Thompson) then came to a determination.

“It is also important to recognise that there are laws for the appointment of a replacement Chief Justice in due course, and I will follow the laws that exist in Barbados,” the Prime Minister added.

According to Thompson, himself a lawyer by profession, the only people who have been talking about who should be appointed a Chief Justice, and who is a good Chief Justice are lawyers.

“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,” he said in response to a question from Starcom Network’s Ryan Gilkes.
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.

“The same people who are telling me I should follow the current procedure, were telling the previous Prime Minister he should follow the current procedure too, which by their estimation, would have disqualified Sir David,” the Prime Minister concluded. (BA)

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20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

20 responses to “Barbados Prime Minister slams retiring Chief Justice David Simmons over the ethics of Simmons’ appointment.

  1. Hants

    Andrew Burgess and Jeff Cumberbatch seem like two good candidates for Chief Justice.

  2. Willie

    Prime Minister Thompson is correct, of course. On the other hand is there not some hypocrisy when one considers that he continues to support Minister Ronald Jones in his position as president of the BFA. Does he not see perceived or potential conflict of interest there?

  3. Observer

    What about Chris Blackman or Sandra Mason for CJ?

  4. Absolutely not Pat Cheltenham

    I am Pat Cheltenham. PM David Thmpson promised me the job.

  5. Donald Duck, Esq

    The PM should have kept quiet on this matter. What happens the next time he has problems filling a position and the only candidate available is a former MP.

  6. Observer

    PC has too many skeletons in his closet

  7. Crusoe

    ‘Donald Duck, Esq
    February 14, 2010 at 8:35 pm The PM should have kept quiet on this matter. What happens the next time he has problems filling a position and the only candidate available is a former MP.’

    Now THAT, is an interesting comment (also, fairly perceptive) and methinks involves more than just casual comment.

    Tells me a bit about Duck, Esq. ……

  8. Tudor

    Judge Williams -next CJ

  9. Tell Me Why

    I bet Keith Simmons will get the pick.

  10. 194

    I bet it going be Frendel Stuart now that would shut you idiots up

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  12. ricky

    HAHAHAHA this makes me laugh…indeed….just like how who is the government lawyer??? what about Brandford Taitt president of senate…Sandy is ambassador to China….the list goes on..!! LOL HAHAHAHAHHAHA..jokes….

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    I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information!

  19. Anonymous

    Wwe oh oh I’m a winner