Even With The CCJ Justice In The Caribbean Is Stillborn
by Makeda Mikael
Failure to seek independence from the British operational system of Justice has brought the Caribbean to a comic scene of paper shuffling, educated but non-functional, uniformed (police) and gowned (judiciary).
Like all things colonial, what worked for the colonial masters were programmed not to work for the benefit of the post slavery Africans under colonial rule.
The Rule of Law was to control the people spoken of as savages, negras, and to a lesser degree the half-breeds, into compliant plantation workers. It is inconceivable that the leaders of the Commonwealth Caribbean could have believed independence under British law control could work for the people of our region.
The Court’s administration in the region has been reduced to using available lawyers willing to join the Judiciary, raising them through the Court’s Registry, and some never having faced the Bench in any serious capacity made judges.
With the rapid expansion of business, lawyers are in demand, fees of private practice (win/lose) are exorbitant and constant, and unfortunately the days of rich experienced lawyers going on the Bench to help improve the court are now over.
Gender politics in the Judiciary, and ensuing failure to build bridges that work between the CCJ and the Judiciary of the OECS in particular, has created a silently hostile atmosphere in the Justice department.
The people feel no love and confidence in the Judiciary and the absence of an Apex to our Courts has resulted in a gaping hole in the defining and administration of policy.
The Judiciary has no head, and the people feel that the Executive/Legislature(same people) is in collusion with the Judiciary in their thrust to subtly supplant the Westminster system of government with an autocratic platform.
The legitimate tool to expedite the forging of the Judiciary into the autocratic plan is ‘delay.’ Our courts are now fully established not to present before a judge before two and a half years have past, and this is now so normalized, that Government officers publicly so remind their opponents and business demands. It is also now commonplace for the magistrates and judges to get caught up in arguments between themselves and the lawyers, over paper and other clerical issues, to the extent that the matter requiring justice before the Court gets pushed aside.
The essential ingredient of Discretion is sadly missing in our Courts and its absence is an indication of the lack of self-confidence in those controlling the administration of Justice in the Courts of Law. No longer do our judges especially in the High Court consider their intelligence adequate to interfere purposefully in the wrongdoing of Governments and big business. The judges instead duck from their judicial responsibility by default in sending simple cases with important characters to the Court of Appeal, thereby further denying justice by further delay, and washing of their hands like Pontius Pilate.
It is not unusual to hear magistrates and judges abusing lawyers for their failure to be proactive in reminding the Court to perform their administrative duties, while using further delaying sanctions to cover the Court’s failures. It is clear that our governments are being supported by the Courts in the subtle manner of delay, and serious inefficiency, whereby the government’s aggression, or corruption or misappropriation becomes normalized by time.
What makes the Caribbean hold on to the tailcoats of the British Justice system is the need for both delay and the corruption which underlies the old unreformed British laws which still apply, and are used to keep our people down and out.
Most of the Commonwealth have severed ties with the JCPC and set in place continuous reformation of their inherited British law structure, leaving the Commonwealth Caribbean far behind in the independence of their Judiciary.
And, we remain the only area in the British Commonwealth still trusting the white man’s judgment over their own. Whereas, Africa in spite of colonization maintained their traditional Courts which function up to today with the speed necessitated by the culture of their people.
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