Tag Archives: Barbados Justice System Problems

Magistrate Douglas Frederick too weak, too timid to take on disrespectful police officers.

Barbados Magistrate Frederick Douglas

Accused waiting five and a half years for trial – Barbados Police don’t show for latest court date.

Magistrate Douglas Frederick lets them get away with it again.

Where was Sergeant Catwell?

The charges against the accused are serious. On January 20, 2010, police arrested Michael James Springer for having an illegal gun and ammunition.

Now, five and a half years later, our justice system is just getting to the preliminary hearing but the two main police witnesses didn’t bother to show up for court date known months in advance. One witness, Sergeant Catwell, was on holiday and, according to Station Sergeant Neville Watson, couldn’t be found. The other witness, Sergeant Leslie, was on a training course and so couldn’t attend at court.

Let’s just think about that for a minute, shall we?

Sergeant Catwell knew many months ago that the case was coming to court on July 8, 2015, but he went away on holiday anyway and “efforts to locate him had proven futile.”

Really? On this tiny rock, none of Catwell’s fellow police know where he is? Nobody knows his mobile phone number? Nobody left a message? Nobody knows his email address?

And what training could be so important as to cause a police witness to ignore the court? Sergeant Leslie couldn’t take a morning off his so very important training course to testify?

Obviously the two involved police officers do not respect the courts, the judicial process or their duty to Barbados.

Time for the learned judge to start issuing arrest warrants for police officers who thumb their noses at the court and the law.

Magistrate Douglas Frederick’s statement that it was “unfortunate that Leslie was away on training and was in High Court on the last occasion” is a capitulation to police disrespect of the courts. Magistrate Frederick looks like he is too weak, timid and fearful to uphold the law. Just a few days ago BFP reported in another trial Magistrate Douglas tossed a drug trafficking case when the police witnesses didn’t show up… but Frederick let the police turn their backs on the courts and never held them to account for failing to show.

And he just did it again…

No one-sided justice, attorney tells Magistrate

Terming it “totally ridiculous,” attorney-at-law Vonda Pile asked today that a matter involving her client be dismissed.

Michael James Springer faces charges of having a gun and ammunition on January 20, 2010. The 29-year-old lives at Headley’s Land, Deacons Road, St Michael.

When the preliminary hearing began yesterday, Station Sergeant Neville Watson told the court of the unavailability of the two police witnesses.   Continue reading

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Caribbean Court of Justice judgements cannot be enforced in Barbados!

CCJ can't make Barbados pay Shanique Myrie judgement

CCJ can’t make Barbados pay Shanique Myrie judgement

As an old friend used to say “IANAL” – “I am not a lawyer”

But if a judgement from the CCJ cannot be enforced, what’s the use? Isn’t the whole justice system a farce then? Why bother taking anything to the CCJ?

How does this impact foreign investors who might be interested in doing business in Barbados or other Caribbean nations?

Can someone please explain this to me. Why bother having a CCJ if the judges have no power?

CCJ lacks mechanism to enforce Shanique Myrie judgement, says judge

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – A judge with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Friday said there was no mechanism to enforce the judgement following the recent ruling in the case involving the Jamaican national Shanique Myrie.

Myrie successfully sued the Barbados Government after she was refused entry into the island in 2011. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Jamaica, Politics

Queen’s Counsel apologizes to High Court Justice, but…

Justice Delayed Barbados

The unnamed lawyer in our original story has been named as Alair Shepherd, Queen’s Counsel. Mr. Shepherd has apologized to High Court Justice Dr Sonia Richards, but the full story in the Nation tells the all-too-familiar tale of a broken court system where the focus is on process, not on results or justice.

Mr. Shepherd should not have done what he did, but in a court system where civil cases often take 15 or 20 years to reach trial we can expect to see the rivets starting to pop as the pressure builds on the boiler call the Barbados Courts. (By the way, why is Chief Justice Gibson in South Africa? Shouldn’t he be staying at home and trying to clean up this mess?)

Here’s the article from the Nation. Please read it at their website here, but unfortunately we have to print it all here because if we don’t, they will change the story as it suits the changing politics.

Sorry!

Queen’s Counsel Alair Shepherd – the man at the centre of the outburst involving High Court Justice Dr Sonia Richards last week – has confirmed that he apologized to her, but said the incident was a result of his frustration over the administration of justice.

In an interview with the DAILY NATION yesterday, Shepherd said his behaviour before the judge should not detract from the real issue, which was the continuing delay of an extremely important case touching on the ability of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to discharge its duties.

Last Monday, Shepherd had an outburst before the judge. He then backed Justice Richards, raised his robe and bent over. Continue reading

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Barbados solution to 20-year court backlog: throw it all out, nevermind justice and the victims

How long would any Harlequin Resorts court cases take to reach trial?

by Nevermind Kurt

by Nevermind Kurt

Sophisticated business and financial industry investors have long had the word: civil cases in Barbados take at least 10 years and often up to 20 years to make their way through the courts. Many court cases never finish because witnesses, victims, plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers and judges move away or die.

When cases take 15 or 20 years to get to trial, people often die or go broke – or both. After 15 or 20 years plaintiffs can no longer afford their lawyers. Defendants go bankrupt (sometimes planned) – leaving victims no real prospect of recovering anything.

“New business investors in Barbados now make their decisions accordingly in the knowledge that if things go wrong there will probably be no real recourse through a lawsuit.”

But consider what this means for existing investors and business people who didn’t know about the state of our courts when they made their original decisions about doing business or entering into legal contracts in Barbados. Consider what this means now for all those potential Harlequin victims. If they want justice in Barbados, they have two choices: be prepared to spend the next decade or two and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in pursuit of justice, or walk away.

“Chief Justice Marston Gibson: Court chaos threatens Barbados international business sector

Marston Gibson describes massive backlog, missing case files, deliberate delaying tactics by unscrupulous profiteering lawyers”

from BFP’s March 12, 2012 article: Shocking mathematics of the Barbados Court system: Thousands of cases will never reach conclusion

The reality of the court system in Barbados

Faced with an unbelievable backlog approaching 3000 cases, Chief Justice SIR Marston Gibson has decided to give thousands of folks a shove to abandon all hope for justice through the courts of Barbados. Continue reading

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Reader: Chief Justice Gibson’s self-announcement “highly inappropriate”

Dear Barbados Free Press,

Barbados and the rest of the world first heard from Mr. Marston Gibson himself that he had been chosen as our new Chief Justice. I first read about the confirmation on Barbados Free Press half a day before the “official” announcement. The story that a New York reporter called Mr. Gibson to confirm a rumour is no excuse. (If indeed the call was not the other way around! Who knows?)

“There is a proper way of doing things and Mr. Gibson should not have been the first one in the press to publicly confirm his appointment.”

This announcement by Mr. Gibson was highly inappropriate and echos some of the concerns earlier put forward by former Attorney General Dale Marshall.

Mr. Marshall was quoted on May 1, 2011 in the Nation and CBC saying,

“Gibson has spoken quite liberally to the Press and, of course, he is entitled to do that as an individual citizen, but there is something called judicial temperament that means a lot in our neck of the woods,”

“In the US judges and court officers speak freely to the Press; it is part of their culture. It is not part of ours. But Mr Gibson appears to be operating in the North American mode, and one wonders if the Government is not feeling a little discomfort at that.”

…former Attorney General Dale Marshall talks about Marston Gibson

I am not writing this letter to ‘pile on’ to our newly appointed Chief Justice, Mr. Marston Gibson. I am writing because I too have concerns that his style of talking in the news media might not be a good fit with what we expect from our Judges in Barbados. I hope that Chief Justice Gibson changes his standards in this area to reflect a less American approach.

I was no fan of David Simmons when he was Chief Justice, but I cannot remember when I was ever concerned about him giving a press interview for all the time he was Chief Justice. He maintained the dignity of the position when he talked with the press and no one can take that from Sir David.

There is also a concern, again vocalized by Dale Marshall, that Mr. Gibson is not only out of touch with Bajan culture after almost three decades away from home, he also has some learning to do about Bajan law and our justice system. This is from the same May 1, 2009 statements by Mr. Marshall…

Marshall also said that while Gibson declared his intention to get rid of the assizes system, the former chief justice had already done that years ago.

“In his pronouncement, he [Gibson] has demonstrated a clear ignorance on the system that he says he wants to come and administer,” he charged.“

It may well be that Government is backing away from the appointment, given Mr Gibson’s propensity to speak to the Press and also given the fact that he has demonstrated a significant ignorance of matters of our court system which really cannot be endearing him to the political or the judicial leaders at this point in time.”

Mr. Gibson is our new Chief Justice and I will give him the respect due of the office, but if this latest little publicity stunt of self-announcement by Mr. Gibson is to be the new standard for the conduct of our Chief Justice, he will start to distance himself from the very justice system he seeks to administer.

Yours truly,

Name withheld upon request.

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Patrick R. Hoyos: Poor Barbados justice system frightens away foreign investors

“Where is the justice?”

Editor’s comment: This article by Patrick Hoyos brilliantly explains what is probably one of the most destructive forces in our society and economy – the inability of our justice system (for a variety of reasons) to deliver justice. Bajans have long known that our highly politicized and under-funded justice system cannot be relied upon, and that “Rule of Law” in Barbados means that those in positions of power can change or ignore the rules and the law without accountability.

The big problem for the elites is that with the advent of the internet, Barbados lost the power to control information. Thus, foreign investors and people who might be thinking about doing business in Barbados now know that business disputes typically take decades to resolve before the Barbados courts. Smart money runs from doing business in such a jurisdiction.

Increasingly international investors and companies are happy to have their money flow through Barbados to other jurisdictions – but invest or do business here? Leave the money here? Now that’s something else.

We’ve reprinted Patrick’s article here in full, lest someone pressure him to remove it from his own website, but we ask you to read the full article at The Broad Street Journal. If you live, do business or invest in Barbados, you’ll soon find yourself visiting The Broad Street Journal on a daily basis and eagerly anticipating the next article.

A bridge too far

By Patrick R. Hoyos    Published May 24, 2011

It is now three months since I wrote in this space about The Tribunal That Won’t Deliver its Judgment.

Three months since I noted that, despite having to wait three years after winning their case in court to have hearings before the Severance Payments Tribunal to determine the “quantum of severance,” and nearly a year since those hearings had ended, no judgement had yet been delivered.

Three months since I pointed out the frustration felt by all of the plaintiffs that justice for them seemed only to exist on paper but could not find its way into coin of the realm.

Three months since I pointed out that one of the plaintiffs had died without receiving his settlement.

I asked then, “Where is the justice?” Continue reading

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