“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.”
..from BFP’s July 8, 2011 article re-printed below
Inconvenient Barbados Law changed for one man
Breaking news: August 18, 2011 1:17am
American “court referee” Marston Gibson told the Associated Press last night that he has accepted the post of Chief Justice of Barbados. He’s 57 and plans to stay until he’s 70, according to what he told the American newspapers. (Apparently Mr. Gibson is not even a full Judge as we’ve been told in the Barbados papers? Readers check the Wall Street Journal story at the end and weigh in please!)
Mr. Gibson hasn’t practiced law in Barbados or any Commonwealth country in decades if ever. We really don’t know because the background released by the government has been very slim. We all thought he was a real judge… apparently that might not be the case?
But it doesn’t really matter because Mr. Gibson’s appointment makes a big statement about the law and rule of law in Barbados. You see, the government announced months and months ago that Mr. Gibson was the choice – then it was found that he didn’t meet the test in our laws about having experience working in our system. It was a little embarrassing for the government, so they did the usual thing… they changed the law. Now there’s no problem. See?
The law means nothing on this rock. It is a tool, a weapon for the elites. If it doesn’t fit, they change the law. God forbid they should adhere to any law that gets in their way!
So here we are just like last time when former Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister David Simmons decided he would like to be Chief Justice even if it removed the safety fences between the politicians and the judiciary. Heck, Simmons thought it was okay that he became the highest judge in the land while cases were still before the courts suing him while he was Attorney General. Ha! Nothing like being in charge of the entire judiciary when your own case is up before a court! What shite!
So welcome to our new Chief Justice Gibson. Don’t worry Mr. Gibson… you’ll be “Sir Marston” soon because that’s the way things are done ’bout hey. (Can this guy still find his way ’round B’town? Does he know where the new court is? Does he know our laws and our system? Hey… no problem: he can take on the job training.)
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Gibson: if you ever have to rule on an industrial action here in Barbados don’t be talking to me about me breaking the law or not qualifying for some government job: just change the job specs to match my qualifications, okay?
Same old, same old ’bout this place!
Previous article first published July 8, 2011…
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
From the Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2011…
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A New York court official has been chosen to be the next chief justice of the Caribbean island nation of Barbados.
Marston Gibson tells The Associated Press he has accepted the job to be the top judicial official in his native country.
Gibson currently serves as a court referee for the New York State Supreme Court in Mineola, on Long Island. His responsibilities are that of a judge, deciding on disputes on civil court matters.
The longtime Hempstead, N.Y., resident says he will assume his new duties at the end of this month.
The Rhodes scholar says Prime Minister Freundel Stuart asked him to accept the position earlier this week.
Now 57, Gibson says he plans to remain as chief justice until his term expires when he turns 70.