Chief Justice, Sir Marston Gibson (fifth from left) accepting one of the 54 laptops from Canadian High Commissioner, Marie Legault (fourth from left), which was donated by JURIST Project while other court staff and members of civil society also pose with their laptops. (GP)

Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson has made it clear that the operations of the court system will not go back to the pre-COVID-19 period as the court equips its staff to effect much needed changes.

He made the comment while addressing a handing over ceremony of 54 laptops as part of the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, in the foyer outside of the Court of Appeal, Court No.1, Supreme Court Complex on Whitepark Road, on Monday.

Sir Marston told the audience that there has been much discussion about the challenges as a result of COVID-19, but in his opinion, the pandemic has created opportunities more so than challenges.

“I think it was Sir Winston Churchill who said never let a good crisis go to waste, and I thank the Canadian Government for not letting this crisis go to waste because of what it has done …. I do not see this as a challenge but as an opportunity. The horse is now out of the barn and there is no putting the horse back in the barn. So, therefore, working remotely is going to be a part of the way we do business going forward,” he stated.

He also expressed gratitude to the Government of Canada and the JURIST Project for its “unwavering support” to the judiciary.

“We thank the Canadian Government for assisting us and now we are continuing to use this opportunity presented to us by COVID-19 to work virtually. And this is what it is all about, … making the court more effective and efficient while working during a pandemic,” Sir Marston underlined.

Meanwhile, Canada’s High Commissioner to Barbados, Marie Legault, lauded the courts for still functioning during the pandemic. 

She said despite the challenges faced worldwide by countries to adapt to a “new way of doing business”, the Canadian Government, through the Improved Access to Justice in the Caribbean and JURIST Projects were able to “think quickly on their feet and respond to see how best we could help and assist our partners with this challenge”.

Project Director of JURIST, Gloria Richards-Johnson, said the donation of laptops would redound to the benefit of the court. 

“The JURIST Project is very pleased to provide the much needed equipment to the Barbados Judiciary at a time when the world is more reliant on technology. The equipment would redound to the benefit of the court by reducing delays and backlog.”

The JURIST Project is a multi-year (2014-2023) regional judicial reform initiative funded by the Canadian Government, and implemented by the Caribbean Court of Justice.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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