“It’s no secret, however, that Prime Minister Thompson when he was the Leader of the Opposition had serious misgivings about Sir David’s appointment and it would be surprising if Sir David remained in office a minute after the April 28, 2010 (Simon’s 70th birthday)”
… Stephen Alleyne writing in the June 22, 2009 edition of the Barbados Advocate
Stephen Alleyne Doesn’t Know The Meaning Of “Judicial Independence” Or The Importance of the Appearance of Justice
In today’s Barbados Advocate, columnist, lawyer and ex-cop Stephen Alleyne states that SIR David Simmons has the “integrity and independence that’s a sine qua non of this high judicial office”.
What absolute rubbish from a person who should know better. If David Simmons had any integrity, if he was concerned about the independence of the judiciary, he would never have accepted the Office of Chief Justice of Barbados.
The courts in Barbados have always been a highly politicized but this reality moved to new heights during the BLP government when then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur appointed his long time political colleague and Attorney General as the Chief Justice of Barbados. The move effectively consolidated the power of the government and the courts under the control of Barbados political elites – and the image of both the courts and the Office of the Chief Justice have never recovered.
Certainly when David Anthony Cathcart Simmons agreed to accept the position from his old friend Owen Arthur, the act brought the administration of justice in Barbados into disrepute. It is the very presence of a career politician, former Attorney General and former Acting Prime Minister as Chief Justice that warns ordinary people that they haven’t a hope of seeing justice in Barbados. (See David Simmons’ bio here. Very impressive career politician!)
Chief Justice David Simmons On His Way Out – But Will Another Politician Replace Him?
Prime Minister David Thompson has no intention of extending the tenure of Barbados Chief Justice SIR David Simmons, who turns 70 on April 28, 2010 and would need Thompson’s recommendation to continue. No, Sir… you can bet your house on the fact that David Simmons will not be Chief Justice of Barbados come the day after his birthday.
And so the process of easing the Chief Justice out of office with all honours begins in the local media with a column by Stephen Alleyne in today’s Barbados Advocate newspaper. “Sir David: A hard act to follow” is available in the dead-tree edition or online for 24 hours at the Barbados Advocate in “photo” form.
As usual in societies where the news media is tightly controlled, the Barbados Advocate does not publish even mildly controversial articles online in a “text” format that can be read and indexed by Google or other search engines. This protects the ruling elites from the inconvenience of having historical records easily accessible by the public.
For instance, there are no newspaper articles available online from the time when David Simmons was appointed as Chief Justice by his old friend then-Prime Minister Owen Arthur. At that time the DLP was up in arms that a politician and former Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister should be appointed to the highest court in the land.
It was argued by David Thompson that Simmons’ appointment politicized courts and brought the entire system into disrepute. Notwithstanding that the DLP itself had previously appointed two of its own former Attorneys General as judges in lower courts, David Thompson and others argued that the office of the Chief Justice should be protected from even a whiff of politics.
It will be interesting to see whether David Thompson as Prime Minister still believes as strongly that no politician should be appointed Chief Justice as he argued when in Opposition!
Barbados Advocate Article
We reprint the Barbados Advocate article referred to here under “fair use” provisions as we are criticising the Barbados Advocate and it is the practice of that newspaper to remove all historical records from public view after 24 hours. (Click to view full size)