Tag Archives: Barbados Justice System

Black and White Sea Egg Poachers have different court outcomes in Barbados

barbados sea eggs

Editor’s note: This story is unchecked and was submitted anonymously.

Take with some salt and decide for yourself!

submitted by Steve See the Egg

Black and White Sea Egg Poachers

Recently two Sea poachers were apprehended somewhere between Martin’s Bay and Glenburnie in St. John. One Eric Mayers, known to most of us as “Grease”, and Anthony Standard, known to most as “TC” though breaking the law, which banned the poaching of sea eggs due to a scarcity of the delicacy for the past 10 years or so.

The two faced the court where they both pled guilty, but Eric was hit with a fine of BDS$5000 forthwith or 13 months in jail. As he could not come up with the fine he’ll have to serve 13 months in prison. This was indeed the second time Eric was caught or escaped being caught.

Anthony on the other hand was caught for the first time and was given a suspended sentence of one years’ probation no jail time, fine.

It should be noted that Mr. Anthony Standard is a white man and like in the Judicial Systems in place in the USA, Canada and many other racist societies, blacks are treated differently in the courts of Barbados. This is a double standard.

It should be noted that two brothers Edgar and Stephen Barrow who were also caught poaching Sea Eggs for the first time like some other first time Poachers were fined BDS$1000.

Why wasn’t Anthony Standard fined?

Is it because “Blacks don’t matter”?

Steve

Sea Egg photo courtesy of BarbadosPocketGuide.com

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

Toothless Caribbean Court of Justice in chaos. Mounting embarrassment over unending incidents.

Justice Delayed Barbados

“Perhaps most damning is the account from the dismissed acting registrar of the Court, Jamaican Dr Leighton Jackson, who was escorted out of the Court’s Headquarters in May.” 

Ask anyone on the B’town streets and you’ll find that few Bajans realise that the vaunted Caribbean Court of Justice carries no actual power or authority even in Barbados – one of the few countries to sign on with the CCJ. Compliance with Caribbean Court of Justice decisions, you see, is still voluntary.

That’s not what has the CCJ in chaos though – it’s a series of recent incidents that some say threatens the court’s continuance.

News 7 in Belize put forth an excellent summary, but the news articles just keep coming including corrupt conduct by a Justice…

Check out the following:

Trinidad Express: CCJ faces internal battle

Stabroek News: CCJ judge gets $$ to hire driver

Stabroek News: CCJ problems sadden former Chief Justice

Jamaica Gleaner: Former CCJ Employee Says Jamaica should be cautious with Court

Administrative Disquiet at CCJ

from 7NewsBelize.com

The Caribbean Court of Justice is the highest Court in Belize, Barbados and Guyana but right now the court is under pressure at its headquarters in Trinidad. News reports from Port of Spain say that the court is facing internal legal battles resulting from a series of dismissals, resignations and suspensions of senior managers. The Court says it is restructuring after 10 years, but half of the 72 employees have joined a union to lodge grievances against the court – mainly about a change in the salary payment system.

On top of that, the court’s senior managers have hired an attorney who is preparing to file suit against the court according to the Trinidad Sunday Express.

Perhaps most damning is the account from the dismissed acting registrar of the Court, Jamaican Dr Leighton Jackson, who was escorted out of the Court’s Headquarters in May.  Continue reading

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Peter Boos: Barbados current economic state all about poor leadership, zero transparency and a painful business environment

Peter-Boos-Barbados

Financial guru Peter Boos lays it out short and not so sweet at Caribbean360.com.

Here’s a sample…

Why are we not doing better?

There are several structural key performance indicators on which we must all focus before the economy will grow sustainably:

  1. Demand competent leadership in all sectors. Leadership with integrity and a set of shared national values and goals that are inspirational for all and grounded in trustworthiness and competence.
  2. Create a business friendly environment that provides world class competitive business facilitation services. Doing business in Barbados today is painful.
  3. Implement and vastly improve transparency and accountability in Government. The 2012/13 Auditor General’s Report is essential reading and should be discussed publicly and acted on. Mismanagement of public funds is a serious disincentive to taxpayers to pay even more.
  4. Commence a debate on strategic National Governance Reform that eliminates patronage and corruption and engages the full skills base in Barbados on a non-partisan basis.
  5. Reform the Legal Justice System.

We continue to refer to ‘the global recession’ as an excuse for our depressed state. Most of our wounds are self-inflicted.

The solutions are totally within our control. Difficult decisions are needed. Leaders are needed.

Confidence will begin to be restored when we make serious credible efforts to address the five issues above.

… read the entire article at Caribbean360.com Stop blaming the global recession; Barbados’ wounds are self-inflicted

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Economy

Barbados lawsuit over rally death: 16 years before the courts

Justice Delayed Barbados

Here we are in the middle of an election campaign and we’ve just received a key performance indicator about the last two governments of Barbados: BLP and DLP: Sixteen years to complete a civil trial over an accidental death at a road rally.

Bajans are so used to outrageously low standards that we hardly know what should be ‘normal’ anymore. Sixteen years of hell before the courts and all we can think of is that we’ve seen cases take longer: twenty and twenty two years. So sixteen years isn’t so bad.

Is it?

Read the full story in The Nation here

Rally Club at Fault in Death

A WOMAN whose son was killed 16 years ago when a race car plunged into a crowd of spectators during a rally event has won a law suit against the Barbados Rally Club.

Althea Strickland sued driver of the car Darrin White and the Barbados Rally Club for the death of her son Rodney Strickland on June 16, 1997. Continue reading

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Our lawless beaches: Turtle poachers threaten violence against witnesses

Police absent as killers raid nests, butcher hawksbill turtles right on the beach!

“The field director noted the poachers were getting even bolder and more aggressive, to the point where they were threatening eyewitnesses against making reports to police. So afraid was one person that she only reported an incident to the project three days after the act and she could not be convinced to make a statement to police.”

… from The Nation article Turtles under attack

Editorial by BFP

The increasing reluctance of Bajans to report crimes or to testify in court is directly related to fears of retaliation. People also have an unwillingness to experience the well known abuses of the police and court system towards witnesses, but it is the witness fear factor that is the first barrier to our police when they arrive at a crime scene. There can be two hundred people in a field but nobody ever sees or hears anything – gunshots and screams included.

This lack of confidence in the ability of the police and the courts to protect witnesses from threats and harm is seriously undermining the quality of life in Barbados. There is a general realisation that the lawless elements are becoming bolder as they know too well that the police aren’t likely to come when called, and if the police do come, ordinary folks will say nothing because they are too frightened to become witnesses.

Although judges, lawyers and citizens have been vocal about this disturbing trend of threats and other intimidation tactics against witnesses, neither the government nor the police have done anything to address the problem. In the courts it is still a common occurrence for charges to be dropped with the thin explanation that “the victim no longer desires the charges to proceed”. The judges, lawyers and the DPP never make further serious enquiries as to why the victim has “changed their mind” as I once heard a lawyer tell the court.

Neither have our lawmakers in Parliament seen fit to change the laws to enable judges to force victims and witnesses to testify. This change, combined with prosecutors refusing to drop charges, has proven especially effective in reducing domestic violence in the U.K. and several American jurisdictions we’ve read about.

Epidemic of turtle killing – with no witnesses

This year the grisly turtle remains are turning up everywhere. The Nation reports that the number of known killings so far this nesting season is double that of all last year.

Darren Browne, field director of the Barbados Sea Turtle Project, says that folks are too frightened to call the police because the poachers are threatening witnesses. Mr. Browne invites witnesses to call the Sea Turtle hotline instead of the police and his organization will then call the police. This is supposed to keep the witnesses’ identities from the police, while alerting the authorities so that the police can attend at the scene and try to catch poachers in the act. Continue reading

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Police, court, DPP abuse of witnesses and victims – one man’s horrific experience

“We have, so far, over a period of four and a half years, attended the Magistrates Court for the preliminary trial a total of 21 times. It is impossible to offer a guess as to when this case will exit the Magistrates Court to the High Court, and how many more years it will spend there.”

by Trevor Kent

Kent Construction Ltd.

Charles Leacock, Barbados Director of Public Prosecutions

In The Nation on Friday May 25 was an article DPP: Stop hiding white collar crime, in which Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock, reportedly lamented the low level of reporting by business of what is known as “white collar crime”. His take on this situation was that businesses, especially, it seems, commercial banks, have been afraid of bad publicity and thus prefer to cover up malfeasance within their operations. He urges that this practice must stop, saying, as reported in the newspaper, that “the low level of prosecutions and investigations [is] symptomatic of the fact that there is also a low level of reporting”.

I have to admit to being surprised by these reported comments, based on my Company’s experiences with reporting substantial white collar thefts by on of our employees, carried out systematically over almost seven years. After assisting with a very long, drawn out Police Fraud Squad investigation, we were informed by letter that the DPP had directed that only a fraction of the thefts for which we provide hard evidence should  be investigated, to save police time. How does that square with the stated fact of “a low level of investigations”?

Then, we have, so far, over a period of four and a half years, attended the Magistrates Court for the preliminary trial a total of 21 times. It is impossible to offer a guess as to when this case will exit the Magistrates Court to the High Court, and how many more years it will spend there.

I would thus submit that the reason companies elect not to report similar crimes is that they do not with to face the frustration of dealing with the slow Police investigation requiring numerous hand-written statements etc. followed by hundreds of hours of wasted employee time, sitting at a Magistrate’s court that often starts up to one and a half hours late, and then accomplishes very little before adjourning for the day.

The whole process then has to be repeated at the High Court, in front of Judge and Jury.

By the time a matter has gone through the Magistrates Court, and the High Court, many years will have elapsed, witnesses may have retired or died, and companies have lost many thousands of dollars in employee time, in addition to the original loss. Even if the accused is convicted, sentences are often little more than a slap on the wrist, as pleas of “first time offender” (although there may be numerous episodes relating to the same trial) are accepted by the courts. Companies thus decide, as in one case I am aware of where the owners simply sold the company and relocated overseas, to swallow the loss, leaving the perpetrator to continue stealing at another company, as often happens.

The legal trial system in Barbados is seriously time-flawed, if not broken, and in fact some of the laws are flawed also. In our case, the bank, after cashing over 300 “third-party” company cheques during the stated period, without once questioning the legitimacy of these transactions, either with the presenter or with the Company itself, was able to hide behind the Banking Act that apparently does not require ID and authorization from the payee to whom the cheque was signed in good faith by a Company director. Amazing really, when one considers that the local Post Office requires such confirmation before delivering mail to a person claiming to represent someone else. The bank has refused to engage with us at any level (despite firm written promises at the highest level) and our expert legal advice is that, whilst we are not without precedent in seeking redress through the courts, the process could well take six or seven years, and even longer on appeal… not to mention hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Continue reading

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Court witness held at gunpoint, tied up, beaten at home. Serious head injuries.

Some lawsuits just aren’t worth it in Barbados

“Kiss yuh rasshole bitch. We will kill you while you are asleep. Lock your doors and windows real good.”

“Marjorie Knox… If we evah fine she anyway bout Barbados we gine bus open she fucking head wid a big rock.”

Some of the anonymous internet threats to murder witnesses in the Kingsland Plantation court case as revealed at Keltruth Blog

“For seven long months in 2007/2008 the official WordPress blog of the Barbados Labour Party linked to the BFPE blog (Barbados Free Press Exposed) that published threats against many people, including threats to murder Adrian Loveridge, to burn down his business, and to rape his wife.”

… from the BFP story Barbados Labour Party Blog Removes Link To Website Threatening Murder Of Adrian Loveridge

Readers of Barbados Free Press are well familiar with the story of the long-running court battles over the Kingsland Plantation Estate, and the many years of threats and violent incidents against Marjorie Knox, her family members and witnesses testifying for Mrs. Knox. Even persons who (to our knowledge) have nothing to do with the court case but were mis-reported as being involved were subject to threats and violence – as happened to Adrian Loveridge and his wife.

Member of Parliament Dr. Duguid even confirmed that some of the violent anonymous internet threats against the Knox family originated on a computer at the Barbados Parliament Members’ Lounge. Something to think about, for sure.

These threats and acts of violence at pretty well standard operating procedure for some in Barbados. Wunna be careful if suing certain cartels… because you are likely to find your house set on fire like this or this.

Even high court Justice Randall Worrell (above) is worried about a trend that is undermining our court system and threatening the very fabric of our society: witnesses don’t want to testify to the point that they are changing their stories or running off the island. Court witnesses in Barbados are very afraid.

When the police cannot or will not protect witnesses, can we expect anything else?

Now we read on Keltruth Blog that Kingsland witnesses were recently held at gunpoint and beaten in what looks like a continuation of the threats and violence against Marjorie Knox and her family, who are engaged in an ongoing court battle against powerful Barbados cartels.

Welcome to Barbados folks: a paradise for tourism, business investments and offshore banking…

… until it goes wrong and you launch a lawsuit to find justice. Then they burn your house, beat you within an inch of your life, fire you from your job, urge strangers to stalk you and threaten to rape your wife while your court case takes 20 years to get to trial.

That’s right. Twenty years for a court case to reach trial in Barbados.

Meanwhile, you had better watch your back…

It was Thursday, April 19th, another peaceful day in the country. Around one thirty in the afternoon, John K. casually drove into the front yard of Old Hanson House in the parish of St. George, Barbados. He stuck his key into the lock of the front door, totally unaware that he was being watched. Continue reading

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Barbados Chief Justice blasts profiteering, weasel lawyers

Chief Justice Marston Gibson recently sent an email to Andrew Pilgrim, president of the Barbados Bar Association. That email was also mysteriously and anonymously delivered to many Bajan blogs and every newspaper on the island. After reading this latest in the battle between the lawyers and the Chief Justice, all we can say to Mr. Gibson is… Give ’em HELL, Sir!

“The system which we have, with its court delays, is what the attorneys know, with the ability to bill for every court appearance. Obviously, then, the longer a case exists, the more likely it is to generate fees for an attorney handling that case. The problem is that there is, equally likely, a dissatisfied client who wonders why the case is taking so long to resolve and who, again likely, will be told “it’s the court’s fault.” If what is reported in the Sunday Sun says or implies that, then I stand by it.”

“There will be no more distribution of files by a single senior legal assistant neither will there be any more situations, reported to me anecdotally, of lawyers choosing WHEN to file a matter depending on WHICH Judge is doing chamber court. Random selection by computer will be the order of the day.”

… Chief Justice Marston Gibson blasts profiteering Barbados lawyers and slaps them upside the head with some new procedures.

From: Office of the Chief Justice

To: Mr. Andrew O. G. Pilgrim
President, Barbados Bar Association

Leeton, Perry Gap
Roebuck Street
BRIDGETOWN

Subject: Our 14 March 2012 Conversation

Dear Mr. President,

I refer to our conversation last evening, 14 March 2012, in which you intimated to me that the Bar Council, or a majority of them, were “up in arms” over a report in the Sunday Sun of 11 March 2012 of my address to the Fair Trading Commission (FTC). You indicated to me that they had written a letter which was “ready to go” to the newspaper “to print.”

My practice is to pick up the Sunday Sun at a gas station on my way home from church. This past Sunday I did not do so and did not see the report until a friend pointed it out to me on Tuesday 13 March, at which point I noticed some inaccuracies. The one glaring example related to the Court of Appeal. In attempting to “set the context” in which the proposed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is to work, I stated that I had discovered 363 pending cases in the Court of Appeal, some filed long ago as 1993 and a few filed by attorneys who have since passed away. One of those attorneys, I pointed out, had been elevated to the same Court of Appeal, had died, but his pending matter was never heard. Other attorneys, I had noted to the audience, had been elevated to the High Court, had retired but their cases remain unresolved. Apart from a passing reference to attorneys who had passed away, there was not even a mention of the number “363″. I decided, however, to “let it be.” Continue reading

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Will Rotarians now expect different treatment in Barbados Courts?

Chief Justice accepts Rotary honours – cautioned he is now a Rotary Ambassador and obligated to Rotary’s ideals, principles

Where does judicial independence really begin and end? Where does the public perception of judicial independence begin and end? Where should the lines be drawn?

Many people will see no problem with our Chief Justice being an “honorary” member of the Rotary Club, and being feted by an organization that does so much good in the community.

“Honorary membership in Rotary is a privilege, which carries with it many obligations and we believe that you will recognise these and welcome them as opportunities for service,” said Rotary President Irving Burrowes as he addressed Gibson during “a glitzy affair at the Accra Beach Hotel.”

“The community will know and judge Rotary by your actions and ideals. You will become an ambassador for Rotary and you will carry these ideals and the principles of Rotary service to those who know you or with whom you are associated.”

… from the Barbados Advocate article Chief Justice becomes an honorary Rotarian

Others see Rotary a little differently than as just a community service club because the “by invitation only” membership of Rotary Clubs everywhere is naturally stacked with many business, financial and political elites. The Barbados Rotary Club was, of course, founded at Sandy Lane. I’ve never been invited to Sandy Lane… how about you?

After years of having David Simmons, a seasoned politician with a politician’s conflicts of interest, as their Chief Justice, Bajans welcomed Marston Gibson as someone who could restore the separation of powers. Never again did Bajans want to face a Chief Justice knowing that they might as well be standing before the Prime Minister or the political party in power.

That’s what happens when a long time politician like David Simmons is Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister and part of the Senior Cabinet of the government in power – and then almost overnight becomes the highest judge in the country. Simmons was in charge of the court system where citizens sought justice against his own BLP government! People lose confidence in the courts when their opponents in court just had dinner with the judge.

And yet, there has to be a balance. Mr. Gibson is human. He is Bajan. He has friends and family and is himself part of the larger community. I suppose that if one of his friends or family appeared in court Mr. Gibson would have the integrity to excuse himself from judging or managing the case.

But what about Rotary members? Will Chief Justice Gibson now have to excuse himself from judging or administrating any case involving a fellow Rotarian? Continue reading

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Why did the Barbados Chief Town Planner secretly set aside an Enforcement Notice for a year?

What does Chief Justice Marston Gibson think of this kind of nonsense in our Courts?

Why did the Chief Town Planner wait for a year to send out an Enforcement Notice?

Did he finally send out the notice only because he was called to testify in court?

This is a strange one indeed.

The Southern Palms Beach Hotel registered a complaint with the Chief Town Planner in January 2002. The complaint had to do with work being done by another party close to the hotel’s property.

The Chief Town Planner investigated and prepared an Enforcement Notice in October of 2002 but did not send it.

The notice was only sent a year later on October 29, 2003 – the day before the Chief Town Planner was called to appear before the court and give testimony.

Was this a mistake? Was there some nefarious agenda at play?

Or… is it simply another example of how things work (or don’t work) at Town and Country Planning?

No wonder cases and disputes can take decades to make it through the Barbados Courts. Would courts in the USA or the UK stand for such nonsense?

Here is the court decision where Mr. Justice Carlisle Payne lays out a most unusual situation. Perhaps our readers or someone from Town and Country Planning can explain this…

BARBADOS

[Unreported]

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

HIGH COURT

CIVIL JURISDICTION

No. 504 of 2003

BETWEEN:

DEBDOR COMPANY LIMITED
(Plaintiff)

AND

PROSPECT BAY RESORTS LIMITED
(Defendant) Continue reading

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Barbados Chief Justice Gibson called “Our best chance…”

The Bajan Reporter: “Marston Gibson is our best chance…”

Chief Justice Marston Gibson is fighting the old boy network, but because he’s not really part of it he’s our best chance. Think of it: he has a pension and independent wealth from his career in the USA. He was away from the island and the politics. He has been conditioned by his law practice in the USA where they wouldn’t put up with 10% of the abuses that happen in our courts. He was in Nassau County where he’s used to slapping lawyers upside the head and telling them to get on with it. So far, I like the man based on his presentations.

If Gibson can bring rule of law to Barbados courts, modernize the courts so the system works, his legacy for good done for Bim might far exceed that of many more famous and revered.

“Even in the Supreme Court, judges are taking evidence in longhand. In civil cases, Judges are still taking evidence in longhand.”

Chief Justice Marston Gibson shows his disgust with our outdated and ineffective court system

Barbados has no court reporters so there are generally no transcripts made. Lawyers stand up one week and say X and next week they say Y and there is no record. Check it out.

Chief Justice Gibson even cites such an incident in this video where a file VANISHES. Without transcripts and proper records nobody can be held accountable and the system devolves into “he said, she said” fights all the time.

Continue to read Ian Bourne’s excellent report on Chief Justice Gibson’s presentation to the UWI Alumni Association (complete with YouTube video of the CJ’s speech.)

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Meet our new Magistrate: Priest, lawyer, ex-cop Graveney Bannister

Which one will be the magistrate?

Priest, lawyer, ex-police officer – it sounds to us that Graveney Bannister knows human failings and compassion (Priest), knows the law (Lawyer) and looks at everything with a hard-nosed cynicism (Police officer).

Furthermore, Mr. Bannister has spent most of the last two decades away from Barbados so he is unlikely to be indebted or loyal to any political party or business group. Like our new Chief Justice Marston Gibson, it looks to us like Magistrate Bannister is as independent and untouched by corrupt power cartels as is possible in a small country like ours.

Yup, Magistrate Bannister might be just what Barbados needs.

Now if we could only get the MPs to pass some modern laws and fund the justice system well enough to make trials happen within a minimum time of, say, five years for a start. Pathetic when five years would be an improvement, isn’t it?

Welcome back to Bim, Magistrate Bannister!

Popular priest and lawyer returns to native Barbados

Bermuda Sun, September 30, 2011

Popular Anglican priest and lawyer Graveney Bannister is leaving Bermuda. Mr Bannister is set to return to his homeland Barbados today to pursue a career opportunity with the church.

He has also been appointed a magistrate and wants to see his eldest daughter through her final years of education.

He told the Bermuda Sun he had “mixed feelings” about leaving the island.

He said: “Bermuda has been like a second home for me. I have made so many great friends here and am very grateful to them all for the love and support they have shown me…”

… Lots more in the Bermuda Sun article here

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American Marston Gibson announces he is new Barbados Chief Justice

“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!

Revirginated Attorney General David Simmons became Chief Justice

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. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Judge wants to be a Barbados judge right now!

“They (Barbados Judges) live a pretty supreme life.”

A group of fifteen Barbadian students touring a Brooklyn, New York court to learn about the differences between the American and Bajan justice systems came away with a bit of culture shock.

You see, in the United States while there are daily failures to reach the lofty goals expressed in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution – it is recognized in law and societal attitudes that every person, no matter high born or low born, has equal rights and status before the law. There are “ruling classes” in the USA, but to be judged by “a jury of one’s peers” is to be judged by other citizens no matter their income, class or education.

As we know, that’s not so in Barbados.

Former Chief Justice (and Acting PM) SIR David Simmons

In Barbados, to find oneself standing before a court is to be judged not by your peers, but to be judged by a select member of the pampered elites. In the case of the last Chief Justice, that also meant to be judged by a former Acting Prime Minister and political backroom plotter.

That’s hardly justice being seen to be done, especially if you were a DLP member!

Class consciousness and status is ingrained into our Bajan psyches from the day we’re born. That was true hundreds of years ago under the British Empire and it’s true now. We’ve retained all the colonial attitudes and trappings except instead of having race-based elitism, we substitute class-based elitism.

In the United States, Judges are seen to be trusted servants of the people, who are still required to obey the laws themselves. Yes, they have status, but everyone knows they still put on their pants one leg at a time.

Contrast the US attitudes with the pomp and primping in our Bajan courts – where justice for the ordinary person is secondary to the primary goal of intimidating the lower classes and keeping them in their places. Ten and fifteen year trials are nothing in Barbados because it’s all about the court system’s pleasure and convenience and nothing to do with the poor sod who’s waiting for justice.

How does the Brooklyn USA judge view the lot of Barbados judges? Her reaction says everything…

But is was (US Judge) Dowling who was the shocked one, when the students told her how the judges in Barbados are treated.

They are addressed as “Milord” and “Milady,” they don’t pay taxes, they have personal chauffeurs and body guards, get lifelong salaries for pensions, and are even allowed to bypass traffic jams. “I’m going to Barbados! … Today!,” Dowling joked.

“They live a pretty supreme life,” a student summarized.

… from the Brooklyn Eagle story: From Barbados to Brooklyn – The Caribbean’s Future Lawyers Visit America for a Dose of ‘Mom, God and Apple Pie’

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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… Continue reading

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Barbados Court does government’s will: Tells Al Barrack he’s screwed

AS IF the Barbados Courts would really rule against the government for $65 million!

Contractor Al Barrack is owed $65 million by the Government of Barbados and the Barbados justice system ruled that he is owed the money for the office building he constructed – or at least started to construct until unknown and hidden caves under the building site changed everything.

Oh, but now he wants his money or to seize and sell the building and other government assets to help pay what the government owes him. Ha! Fool that Barrack is! He thought justice was for all.

The courts will keep this man going round in circles until he dies because on an island of fewer than 300,000 people EVERYTHING is politics including the court. Doing business with the government of Barbados is fine, fine so fine… until something goes wrong. And then, my friend, you have to turn to the government run courts to seek “justice”. As so many have found, the courts will keep you going round and round for ten or fifteen or twenty years and by that time you’re crazy looking for justice and you dress in whiteface and hold signs and stand on the corner and shout and be laughed at.

Beware when you do business with the government of Barbados, because the court is the government and the government is the court.

Like we said in our past article Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual

“All because a government construction contract went bad FOR THE GOVERNMENT because of an unknown cave under the project.

Welcome to the wonderful world of doing business with the Government of Barbados, Mr. Barrack. Like a male praying mantis seeking a little love, it’s thrilling but often ends badly for the little guy.”

mostly contributed by Al’s Friend.

Strong language removed by Auntie Moses.

Here is the latest on the Driving Al Barrack Crazy and enjoying every minute of it story from Barbados Today. As usual we ask BFP readers to read the story at Barbados Today, but we’re reprinting the entire story here because you know how the press changes history ’bout hey. Haven’t caught Barbados Today doing that just yet, but ya never know!

NHC break

Court rules stay on Al Barrack writ against government

by Shawn Cumberbatch

The protracted and controversial battle between the National Housing Corporation and Al Barrack, over the $65 million the state agency owes the contractor, has taken a new and significant turn.

Barbados’ High Court has just put the brakes on a previously-issued writ of fieri facias commanding the chief marshal to sell the NHC’s “goods, chattels and property” to clear the massive debt, saying if such was allowed to proceed “the statutory functions performed by the corporation at its various locations across Barbados, and in particular at its head offices at Reef Road would be severely dislocated without (Barrack) achieving any substantial reduction in the amount owed”. Continue reading

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“Bloody lawyers” says Kentish. “Bloody judges” says Pilgrim

“Is too!” says Judge. “I’m going to tell!” says lawyer.

Will someone please grab the lawyers and the judges by the ears, take them down to St. Leonard’s Boys’ School and let Dr. Victor Agard have a go at them?

Maybe a few strokes of Dr. Agard’s cane will cure the infantile battle of egos that is debilitating our justice system – but probably not.

Back on June 24th Justice Elneth Kentish said that our courts are being held to ransom by lawyers who don’t show up on time and ruin the whole show. Yesterday in Barbados Today, lawyer Andrew Pilgrim (photo above) said that judges, magistrates and their support staff regularly show up so late that court often doesn’t start until 11am – two hours later than scheduled.

Please, children! Continue reading

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Dear Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, this article is for you.

Why is it not appropriate for the Commissioner of Police of Anguilla on his retirement to be appointed Magistrate of Anguilla?

It is unfortunate that I have to ask this question.  The answer should be obvious to all.  The answer is that such an appointment will tend to undermine public confidence in the administration of justice, and to bring the judiciary into contempt.  Just in case there is one single person out there who does not  see the point immediately, let me try my best to explain why this is so.

First of all, every police case brought in the Magistrate’s Court is brought in the name of the Commissioner of Police.  The Magistrate’s Court deals with 95% of the criminal cases brought to court in any country.  The trial of crime in Anguilla is for all practical purposes synonymous with the Magistrate’s Court.  If I get a summons, it will be titled “Commissioner of Police versus Don Mitchell”.  Then, every single investigation of a crime is conducted under the direction of the Commissioner of Police.  He is the head of the police force.

In addition to the obvious conflicts of interest and questions of bias raised, there is the fundamental question of the separation of powers.  At least since the time of the Duc de Montesquieu, the principle of separation of powers has been an intrinsic foundation of the rule of law.  Ask any first year law student.

… article continues at Corruption-free Anguilla

David Simmons got he-self re-virginated to become Chief Justice Barbados

And there you have it, Chief Justice SIR David Simmons,

Ask any first year law student why it was unethical for you as the former Attorney General and Acting Prime Minister of Barbados to accept an appointment as Chief Justice. It was a fundamental question of the separation of powers.

You knew that your appointment to Chief Justice undermined public confidence in the administration of justice, and brought the judiciary into contempt, but you wanted the honour and the job so bad that you took it. And Owen Arthur wanted influence over the courts of Barbados so bad that he appointed an old friend (one of the three mice) as Chief Justice.

Ask any first year law student, SIR.

Further Reading

Let’s Hope Our Next Barbados Chief Justice Isn’t A Political Hack Like SIR David Simmons

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