If there is one thing the government of Barbados must plead guilty, it is the procrastination and vacillation which has affected their ability to appoint a Chief Justice of Barbados. The denial given to Sir David which forced him into an early retirement would have signalled to the public the government had a plan to attack the many issues which are afflicting our Judicature.
If there is one attribute which recommends Barbados it is the fact our country is still regarded as an orderly society. The strength of our democracy, law and order; its political and social stability has become a symbiosis. At the epicentre of the administration of justice sits the Chief Justice. Sir David was sent hurrying on pre-retirement leave on the 21 Jan 2010, more that a year ago. Is it conceivable to think that any company wishing to be successful would want to have an entrenched appointee at the top? It has nothing to do with the vacuous and spurious excuses being offered to the effect Justice Sherman Moore is competent.
Besides the ugly and embarrassing situation which must be tarnishing the reputation and credibility of our court system has been the silence of those who should be most vociferous given the tardy appointment of a permanent Chief Justice. Recently appointed President of the Barbados Bar Association Andrew Pilgrim has been uncharacteristically silent. The Barbados Labour Party Opposition who registered disagreement when Sir David was refused the extension, also opposed the amendment of the Judicature of the Supreme Court Act, which many believed cleared the way for Marston Gibson to take up the post, has been passive on the issue. The most resounding silence has been the local media who although willing to do a public relations job on Marston Gibson, felt hat and all, has shown a reluctance to disseminate the bigger issues created by his non appointment.
BU has been at the vanguard of calling for a more educated Barbadian when it comes to being familiar with the laws which guide our fair land. Of interest to those who keep an eye on precedent setting rulings: on April 22, 1993, Stephen Lawrence, a young British man of African heritage, was murdered. Those accused of his murder were acquitted.
On Wednesday (18 May 2011) in a landmark ruling under the new “double jeopardy” rules of England and Wales, the court ruled that the conditions of Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 had been met and that , “After conducting a detailed examination of a large body of evidence we have come to the conclusion that there is sufficient reliable and substantial new evidence to justify the quashing of the acquittal and to order a new trial.”
This is a case of international interest that received international coverage at the time and involves the murder of a young, black man by a group of young, white thugs. To be expected, it is of interest to the BU household and it has to be questioned why our so-called Fourth Estate has not reported on it.
Here is the judgment in full:
Of particular note, although not reported in the above link, is the conduct of Stephen Lawrence’s father, Neville. Far from seeking revenge for his son’s killing, Mr Lawrence has made himself available to organizations across Britain where he visits young offenders and works with them in the hope that he can in some way reverse their propensities for violence and in an effort to try to change society, so that what happened to his son may not happen to others.
For some strange reason, BU unlike the respectable Fourth Estate thinks this case is worth reporting.