If Marston Gibson loves Barbados, he will refuse the job

If Prime Minister Stuart loves Barbados he will not offer the job to Gibson

A few days ago the Barbados Government news agency announced that a new Chief Justice will be appointed by the first week in August. (See end of this post for the press release) The same press release quoted Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as saying that he never mentioned that New Yorker Marston Gibson is in the running.

That statement by Stuart is accurate – because he was never quoted personally in the press about appointing Gibson as the next Chief Justice.

But Stuart’s statement also communicates a big lie – because back in March, Freundel Stuart himself voted to pass an amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act that was aimed at no other end result than appointing Gibson.

If you don’t understand how a statement can be 100% accurate and still communicate a lie, well then you haven’t been around lawyers all that much. It cannot be argued that our Prime Minister is not a politician in every negative meaning of the word.

So PM Stuart put out a press release to state that he would never politicize or cause controversy over the office of the Chief Justice.

hmmmmmmmmmm. We will see, won’t we?

Prime Minister Stuart also took the time to slap former Chief Justice SIR David Simmons in the face. Twice. Like David Thompson before him, PM Stuart recognizes how unethical it was for the former Attorney General to manoeuvre himself into being appointed to the position of Chief Justice by his old drinking buddy Owen Arthur.

What does the Press Release really mean?

In the press release, the question is unanswered as to whether or not PM Stuart has shelved Marston Gibson as a candidate for the Chief Justice. Simply put, Bajans are unable to decipher whether the PM’s press announcement was to pave the way for Gibson, or communicate that while SIR David Simpson’s was appointment was unethical, the appointment of Gibson would not be.

Why Marston Gibson should not be our next Chief Justice

We have this little problem in Barbados: the rule of law doesn’t exist. Instead of one law being applied impartially to all, we have different laws for different classes. It used to be about race, but now it’s about class and money.

The law is viewed as a tool and a weapon in Barbados – to be wielded by those in power without regard to any principle other than expediency.

Thus when the Constitution of Barbados prohibited foreign troops on Bajan soil and this was inconvenient for Cricket World Cup, the Constitution was changed overnight with no debate and no public notice – to allow foreign troops on Bajan soil.

Thus when is was discovered that the law prohibited an American named Marston Gibson from being appointed as Chief Justice (after his coronation had already been announced), Freundel Stuart was happy to change the law for expediency so that the favoured candidate could be appointed.

The law is an inconvenience for Bajan elites – nothing more

IF Marston Gibson is our new Chief Justice, his appointment will be as tainted as the appointment of David Simmons. The law was changed for one man: Marston Gibson. The law was proved to be worth nothing. It was a minor inconvenience standing in the way of a government that wanted to do what it wanted to do. So, the DLP government changed the law. Tomorrow it will be some other law that stands in the way of what the government in power wants to do, and another law will be changed in the middle of the night with no public debate or societal discourse on why the law is the way it is in the first place.

Marston Gibson should refuse the appointment – if he loves Barbados and the rule of law.

Of course, if Mr. Gibson just wants the big-up job and doesn’t care that his appointment undermines the rule of law and the general respect for the courts – well, welcome back to Barbados, Mr. Gibson. Just remember: we don’t sing the Star Spangled Banner here as our national anthem. And as far a rule of law goes: you take the position and you prove to all Bajans that everything is the same old same old ’bout hey.

A press release from the Barbados Government…

Barbados: Prime Minister Stuart: Chief Justice To Be Appointed By August

Bridgetown – July 4, 2011 – An announcement on who will be appointed as this country’s Chief justice will be made by the first week in August.

This promise was made by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today as he spoke to members of the media on day three of the formal business sessions of the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) now under way at the St.Kitts Marriott Resort.

Mr. Stuart gave the assurance that “the machinery” had been set in motion for the permanent appointment of a Chief Justice, and that the issue “should [soon] be behind us.”

He called for persons to stop speculating about the appointment, noting that Barbados always had an effective and efficient justice system and, if this ceased, then there was the danger that “for all of us, life will be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Because people will take things into their own hands and forget the courts altogether. So, this is too important an issue for me to treat lightly and, therefore, I have tried to pursue it with as much dignity as I could manage.”

Mr. Stuart indicated that although no Chief Justice had been permanently appointed, “I have never got up in Barbados a morning and there has not been a Chief Justice of Barbados; and there is one as recently as this morning. And, we don’t have someone holding the office of Chief Justice who is looking over his shoulder to see when somebody who actually holds the post is coming back.

“The Chief Justice of Barbados today can make any decision he wants to make in respect of the administration of justice. He will bear witness that the Prime Minister has never called him on any issue, or stood in his way, in terms of making any decisions related to the administration of justice in Barbados,” Mr. Stuart maintained.

The Prime Minister contended that instead of persons engaging in speculation about the matter that there were much larger issues related to the administration and dispensation of justice that nobody was addressing. He added: “These are the real issues, not whether A, B or C gets the job, or who is going to get the job. We get too caught up in this type of infantile gossip, when in fact, there are larger issues related to the mass of the people and how they fare in the justice system and nobody is dealing with that.”

Regarding the speculation in various sections of the media about the possible appointment of Marston Gibson to the post, the Prime Minister made it clear that he never gave any such indication.

“I have never made any mention of anybody. Not this Prime Minister. I know that some names have been floating around the place, called by the Opposition, called by the shadow Attorney General, called by the press, and so on. I don’t think anybody, unless I’m going senile, has ever heard this Prime Minister call the name of anybody in relation to the office of Chief Justice. I have kept quiet on that. I did not speak in the debate because I do not believe that Barbados should ever find itself in the position again where the issue of the appointment of a Chief Justice is bedeviled by the indecent controversy that attended the appointment of the last Chief Justice.

“As a legal practitioner, I was witness to all the unpleasant fallout from that controversy; all the whisper campaigns; all the expressions of doubt and lack of confidence…all the lobbying and so on. I do not ever want to see the office of Chief Justice embroiled in that kind of controversy again; and, therefore, I have remained quiet on the issue, because I value the office of Chief Justice much too highly to get myself involved in that kind of controversy,” he declared.

Photo courtesy of The Nation

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20 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Ethics

20 responses to “If Marston Gibson loves Barbados, he will refuse the job

  1. You forget the Medical Director of the QEH is a foreigner too? http://bit.ly/ldO2JI

  2. Pingback: Barbados PM takes a swipe at Former Chief Justice David Simmons now Chairman of the TCI Integrity Commission | The tcipost

  3. J. Payne

    They need to bring in someone from London to fix the local system….

  4. Beefcake

    Remember a comment about a Pakistani lawyer that could not speak English was more eligible that Mr. Gibson to hold the position of Chief Justice? DLP tried to make an extreme case to over-simplify an issue. However, a person should be qualified regardless of their native tongue if language is not listed as a prerequisite to hold the position.

    Yet, I find it surprising that not a single resident of Barbados is deemed as qualified to hold the position of Chief Justice. I can think of a few who are deserving, but politics is probably keeping them at bay.

    Barbados wasn’t good enough for Mr. Gibson and so he sought opportunity abroad; what has changed now?

  5. St George's Dragon

    The legal requirements in respect of the Chief Justice had not been reviewed for years.
    Clearly when they decided to offer the job to Mr Gibson, they saw they had to change the law but that doesn’t mean that the change is wrong.
    Look at it this way. If there had been a review of the legal requirements three years ago hopefully someone would have spotted that the law prevented a Bajan who was in a high position in another (non-Commonwealth) country’s legal system from taking the post. If they had recommended a change we would all have agreed it was the right thing to do.
    So Mr Gibson comes along and we decide that we should not change the law? That’s, as the old saying goes, “cutting off the your nose to spite the face”.
    Of course the change was made because a particular individual was identified for the job. That does not make the change wrong.

  6. what will they think ofnext

    Freundel Stuart himself voted to pass an amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.
    I did not know that the Judicature act was also known as Marston Gibson .

  7. BFP

    Hi St. George

    It was obvious from the way that things unfolded that they chose Marston Gibson before they realized that the law prevented him from being appointed as Chief Justice.

    So they changed the law.

    And that is the whole problem. There was no debate about the law until someone pointed out that the DLP’s choice was not eligible under the law.

  8. Rose Art

    This lot is like a bunch of bulls in a china shop, breaking everything and not giving a demn.

  9. wunna missing de point ,de PM is ah lawyer so what wunna expect ?

  10. what will they think of next

    Kevin Teslyn, the outgoing Head Of Scotiabank in Barbados believes that the Authorities in the public and privats sectors have done well up to now in helping this country to weather the economic storm.
    The Barbadosadvocate
    This says it all!

  11. Pieter Pieper

    “Barbados always had an effective and efficient justice system”.Given the current state of affairs one is now compelled to ask why has the justice system deteriorated to such an extent that the average person cannot expect to have any legal matter resolved within a reasonable period of time.Remember the old adage,”justice delayed is justice denied” ?Why has it become necessary for a person involved in a criminal matter to wait sometimes as much as ten years ,or a person involved in a civil matter to wait 10,20, 30 years or even die before the matter is resolved in the courts?”Life is now solitary,poor,nasty,brutish and short…people will take things into their own hands and forget the courts altogether”. Oh ! How sad but true

  12. Anonymous

    what are the duties of a referee in the new york court system? please find out and then talk of “high position” in another country’s judicial system.

  13. 28

    Can a Man who is a citizen of the USA and no longer a Common Wealth Citizen take the oath of allegiance to her Majesty the Queen.
    I think he would first have to renounce his US citizenship.

    OH. So that is the problem

  14. Anonymous

    Can a Man who is a citizen of the USA and no longer a Common Wealth Citizen take the oath of allegiance to her Majesty the Queen.
    I think he would first have to renounce his US citizenship.

    OH. So that is the problem

  15. 48

    Why is Mr. Gibson no longer a Barbadian citizen?

  16. Aint No Maguffy

    Whomever takes over got a shock coming…it aint all steak and pie…..

  17. where is our new CJ?

    Doesn’t the first week in August end tomorrow? I thought the PM told us that our new Chief Justice would be appointed the first week in August. Oh! He did not say which year. That could explain it.

  18. J. Payne

    @28. Like so many of the other Barbados politicians why can’t he break his oath too?
    Chapter X.
    [ . . . ]
    Judicial Oath

    I, ______________________ , do swear that I will well and truly serve Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors, in the office of the Chief Justice/Justice of Appeal/Judge of the High Court and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of Barbados without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God.

    Judicial Oath for Judges of the Caribbean Court of Justice

    I, ______________________ , do hereby swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully exercise the office of President/Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice without fear or favour, affection or ill will and in accordance with the Code of Judicial Conduct. (So help me God (to be omitted in affirmation)).

  19. J. Payne

    @where is our new CJ?

    I’ve noticed something. The current government can’t manage more than one thing on its plate at any one time.. Immigration was taken off the table, integrity legislation was taken off the table, preparing for the full force of the EU EPA was also taken off the table, and instead the government is all for hosting multi-million dollar concerts… Then they’ll blame the “global recession” again. Singapore has been focusing on national development and they actually re-valued their currency’s peg against the U.S. dollar…..

  20. Newbie

    @ J. Payne

    Plotting and scheming to advantage a few and disadvantage the majority takes up an awful lot of time, partying takes up the rest.