Prime Minister Stuart: Chief Justice To Be Appointed By August

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart??

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.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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