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Case that never should be

Claude Gerald and Attorney-at-Law Warren Cassell

We concur ZJB’s lead reporting that “Agricultural Science teacher Claude Gerald is a free man”.

This is after a nine-member (mixed) jury of men and women, returned a not guilty verdict for indecent assault of a number of schoolgirls, at the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) only this afternoon.

ZJB accurately reports: “The incident arose out of New Year’s greetings up to start of the school year on an open field around the midday on January 10 at the compound of the Montserrat Secondary School.

“Many students were said to be present at that time when the assault allegedly occurred and the teacher was arrested and charged after a three-week investigation.”

Gerald faced six counts, one each of six girls at the start of a two-week trial.

“Indecent assault carries a five-year jail sentence for each count Gerald’s defense team led by Attorney Warren Cassell was able to twiddle the charges down to four in a no case submission argument before the court on Tuesday.”

The no-case submission was an expected one and based on a ruling issued by Justice Morley who presided on the case, and who refused the press (especially Bennette Roach) from witnessing the trial when the evidence began, he ruled, “and so there is no case to answer as pleaded on counts 2 and 6. Accordingly, the trial shall proceed on counts 1, 3, 4, and 5, and the jury shall be directed to return a verdict of not guilty on counts 2 and 6 as pleaded…”

It was no surprise as ZJB reported: “after the acquittal defense attorney Warren Cassell says the not guilty verdict was expected.”.

Cassell said: “I am not at all surprised by the verdict and – there were six counts of indecent assault. Indecent assault is specifically defined in Montserrat’s law as ‘an assault accompanied by words or circumstances of indecency’.

“All of the accusers agreed that Mr. Gerald said nothing to them when he hugged them, therefore there were no words. And I said to the jury look where are the circumstances of indecency? This thing took place in the open, on the field of the of the M.S.S. campus. Where are the circumstances of indecency? No such thing existed. It cannot be that just by virtue of hugging, just by hugging a child and even kissing the child on the cheek. That is not indecent assault, or else fathers and brothers siblings would be guilty of it every single day – it happens every single day. Is it wise for a teacher to do it to a student, maybe not, but it doesn’t make it an indecent assault.

Attorney Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Oris Sullivan meanwhile, did not address the charges. But, while accepting the jury’s decision commended the witnesses and victims for courage to come forward and testify.

“Our system as I said on numerous occasions provides for trial by a jury of one peers. We accept the verdict of the jury of course, but we are still commending the witnesses and the victims for coming forward. This should not be a deterrent to other victims and other persons who are aggrieved who have been assaulted or sexually molested. We want to still encourage everybody who have been the victim of offences to come forward. It is the jury’s decision but that is not to say that every case will result in the same decision. We have seen our Jury at work and we’ve seen our jury convicted on prior occasions high profile cases, but today the prosecution was unsuccessful, but we still respect the Jury’s decision.”

TMR will present a more comprehensive report in a future issue, as there is much to reveal about the investigation, trial, its origin and the matters of child abuse and molestation, protocols and prosecution.

Posted in Court, Crime, Featured, Local, News, Youth0 Comments

Diplomatic passport case filed by private citizen - ruled abuse of process

Diplomatic passport case filed by private citizen – ruled abuse of process

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Friday July 13, CMC – Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas scored a legal victory on Friday when a High Court judge threw out a challenge filed by a private citizen to his right to sit in Parliament on the basis of his ownership of a Dominica diplomatic passport.

High Court Judge Trevor Ward ruled that the civil suit brought by Cuthbert Mills “was an abuse of the process”, since it had come after Attorney General Vincent Byron had already filed a similar claim.

Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas celebrates after the ruling.

Mills had submitted a claim that Douglas is not qualified to be the Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of St Christopher 6 because he has a Dominica diplomatic passport. But during a two-hour hearing last Friday, Douglas’ lawyers, Anthony Astaphan SC, Delano Bart QC, Sylvester Anthony and Angelina Gracey Sookoo-Bobb asked the judge for the claim to be struck out.

Sookoo-Bobb told the media after the ruling that Justice Ward had agreed with the former prime minister’s legal team that Mills’ claim amounted to an abuse of the process of the court, having been filed one month after Byron’s claim.

The court ruled that under the constitution, Mills was not allowed to bring a second claim or to intervene.

The issue of cost has been reserved and submissions will be made as to whether or not Mills will pay Douglas’ cost and how much he should pay.

“Those submissions are to be filed by July 19, 2018,” said Sookoo-Bobb.

The case brought by the Attorney General is to be heard on September 28.

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PM promises to actively campaign for ‘yes’ vote in CCJ referendum

PM promises to actively campaign for ‘yes’ vote in CCJ referendum

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, July 4, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has given the assurance that he will be actively campaigning to ensure that the upcoming referendum to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) be the final appellate court for Grenada is not a failure.

Speaking to delegates at the New National Party (NNP) General Council over the weekend, Mitchell, who is also the party’s political leader, said the things being done by his party must be about the good of the country because what is good for the country must also be good for the NNP.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell

“Our children and grandchildren deserve to have a Caribbean Court of Justice. We have come of age sufficiently. We have to trust our brothers and our leadership to provide justice for us and therefore I will be campaigning this time,” he told the hundreds of delegates at the farty’s first general council since the March 13 general elections.

“The last time my hands were tied, this time it will be loose,” he told the cheering audience.

The first referendum in 2016 failed. Grenada is scheduled to stage a second referendum in the last quarter of this year on replacing London-based Privy Council with the CCJ.

Prime Minister Mitchell and his team will lead a ‘vote yes’ campaign.

Data from the Parliamentary Elections Office show that less than 35 per cent of the voting population participated in the November 2016 referendum.

The CCJ Advisory Committee, which will be tasked with educating the public about the work of the CCJ and its benefits, is chaired by Attorney General Sir Lawrence Joseph. It comprises 15 other stakeholder representatives including women, the legal fraternity, the religious community and labour movement.
The previous committee was headed by Dr. Francis Alexis who is now a member of the committee.

The CCJ Bill was laid in the Lower House of Parliament on May 15 this year.

Posted in CARICOM, Court, Local, News, OECS0 Comments

Caribbean Court Rules Guyanese Presidential Term Limits Legal

Caribbean Court Rules Guyanese Presidential Term Limits Legal

CCJ rules two terms only for presidents of Guyana

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Jun. 25, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that   an amendment, that barred Presidents of the Republic of Guyana from serving more than two terms in office, was a valid amendment to the Constitution.

In the ruling handed down on Tuesday, the court said that after examining the  historical background of the amendment to the constitution of Guyana, it was noted that it was passed unanimously by the National Assembly during the administration of President  Bharrat Jagdeo.

“The CCJ felt that it was clear that the amendment did not emerge from the desire of any political party to manipulate the requirements to run for the office of President. The Constitution was amended after extensive national consultation and therefore represented a sincere attempt to enhance democracy in Guyana,” the regional court said.

The challenge to Act No 17 of 2001 amended Chapter 90 of the Constitution to set presidential term limits and qualification for presidential candidates was made by a private citizen, Cedric Richardson who challenged the amendment on the basis that he should have the right to choose whomsoever he wanted to be President. 

He also stated that the amendment disqualified Jagdeo, who had previously served two terms as President, from running for office in upcoming elections. Richardson argued that the amendment was inconsistent with his rights under Articles 1 and 9 of the Constitution which declared that Guyana was a “sovereign democratic state”.

He said that in order for the National Assembly to amend the Constitution, the amendment had to be supported by a majority vote in a referendum. He said that no referendum was held before the amendment in 2000 and therefore the amendment was unconstitutional.

The High Court, and a majority of the Court of Appeal, agreed with  Richardson.

They said that an essential feature of a sovereign democratic state was the freedom enjoyed by its people to choose whom they wish to represent them.

The  court said the amendment was therefore unconstitutional because it “diluted the opportunity of the people to elect a President of their choice.”

The Attorney General of Guyana had appealed to the CCJ challenging the majority ruling in the Court of Appeal.

The challenge to the term limit came in the run up to the historic 2015 general elections, when the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) lost to the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition after 23 years in office of which Bharrat Jagdeo served two terms as President.

The challenge  sought to allow Jagdeo to contest elections again.

The main issue in the appeal was whether the additional qualifications set out in the amendment diluted the rights of the electorate or undermined the sovereign democratic nature of the state of Guyana as prescribed by Articles 1 and 9. 

All seven judges of the CCJ heard the appeal.

The CCJ also stated that new qualifications can be introduced by valid constitutional amendments and that the National Assembly had the power to amend the Constitution by a vote of at least two-thirds of all members of the Assembly, without holding a referendum.

The Court also outlined guiding principles for assessing when new amendments to the Constitution did not require the holding of a referendum.

 

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CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

CCJ strikes down mandatory death penalty in Barbados

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun. 27, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has ruled that the mandatory death penalty in Barbados is unconstitutional.

The CCJ, which is the highest court for Barbados, made the ruling based on two unrelated death penalty cases from Barbados.

The cases, Jabari Sensimania Nervais v The Queen and Dwayne Omar Severin v The Queen, were consolidated because both appeals challenged the murder convictions of each of the men and the constitutionality of the mandatory death sentence for murder in Barbados.

The Court stated that a section of the Offences Against the Person Act was unconstitutional because it provided for a mandatory sentence of death.

In addition, both men had their appeals against their convictions dismissed.

Before examining the issues raised by the appeal, the regional court considered the state of the mandatory death penalty in Barbados for murder and found that it was indisputable that the nation, through its actions, had acknowledged that it had an obligation to remove such mandatory sentence under section 2 of the Offences against the Person Act.

The court also noted that Barbados had also given undertakings to the CCJ and the Inter American Court of Human Rights to rectify the mandatory sentence which was reflected in the Barbados Privy Council’s consistent commutation of the mandatory death penalty.

The CCJ held that section 11 of the Constitution, which gives the right to protection of the law, was enforceable.

The CCJ also found that the mandatory death penalty breached that right as it deprived a court of the opportunity to exercise the quintessential judicial function of tailoring the punishment to fit the crime.

The CCJ ordered that the appellants be expeditiously brought before the Supreme Court for resentencing.

As it relates to the cases  – Nervais was convicted of the murder of Jason Barton and the mandatory sentence of death by hanging was imposed on him.

It’s reported that Barton was selling from a booth when an alarm was raised that caused him, and the people gathered around, to run away. Gunshots were fired by a group of men and  . Barton was struck by a bullet and died.

Nervais was  later arrested and charged with Barton’s murder after he made oral statements and a written confession to a police officer.

The Court of Appeal in Barbados dismissed his appeal against conviction and affirmed his sentence.

In the other case,   Severin was convicted before a judge and jury for the murder of  Virgil Barton in the parish of St. Phillip.

The prosecution relied heavily on the evidence of  Barton’s nephew,  who testified that he saw two men shoot at the deceased.

During investigations,  the police conducted a search of   Severin’s residence and found a Taurus semi-automatic gun along with thirty-one 9mm rounds in his bedroom.

In his appeal to the CCJ,   Severin challenged the reliability of  his nephew’s evidence, the fairness of the informal identification parade, and the instructions given by the judge to the jury at the trial.

The appeals were heard together on January 25 by the Bench of the CCJ comprising the  CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron.

These are the last judgments that the Byron will deliver as CCJ President as he will demit office on July 4.

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CCJ buildings - Trinidad

CCJ: Beware the politicians in (judges’) robes, the wolves in sheep’s clothing

Jamaica Observer

Editorial

May 24, 2018

CCJ buildings – Trinidad

As a country, we have never been as afflicted by intellectual schizophrenia as we are with the decision on whether to accept the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as our final court of appeal, replacing the United Kingdom Privy Council.

Jamaica is not the only one to be so afflicted, it would seem, because only four Caribbean Community (Caricom) nations have made the CCJ their final appellate court since it was established in 2001 and began operating in 2005.

The reason for this dual personality in Caricom countries is no doubt related to the fact that bright people who are for regional integration can see both the advantages and disadvantages of having a CCJ.

Indeed, it is instructive that the majority of the 15 member countries of Caricom have signed on to the original jurisdiction of the CCJ — which functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional bloc — while only Barbados, Belize, Dominica, and Guyana have signed on to the appellate jurisdiction.

This suggests to us that those who are hesitant to replace the UK Privy Council with the CCJ are not saying that regional judges are inferior. They trust them to interpret the revised treaty, which is critical to holding together the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

The main stumbling block in the way of making the CCJ the final court of appeal is the overwhelming view that our politicians, most of them at any rate, are irrevocably in love with their own sense of power to intervene, adversely, we might add, in the running of local and regional institutions.

We in this space have in the past embraced the notion of a Caribbean court of appeal that might enrich regional jurisprudence and conceivably be less expensive to access than the London-based UK Privy Council.

But over the years we have grown more despondent as we see the propensity of the political ‘old boys’ club’ to rob our institutions of the impartiality that is paramount to public confidence in their integrity.

Until we are certain that we will have in place a legal superstructure that mirrors the confidence inspired by the Privy Council — untouchable by local politics — it would be foolhardy to make the CCJ our final appellate court.

No country which means itself well would go that route at this time. That is why we fully understand the sentiments expressed by Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who has indicated his intention to pull the island out of the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction if his Democratic Labour Party wins a third term in today’s general elections there.

“I’m not going to have Barbados disrespected by any politicians wearing robes. It is not going to happen,” he has declared.

We in this space have never lost sight of the collective wisdom of the Grenadian people who voted against the CCJ by a margin of 9,492 in favour and 12,434 against in a 2016 referendum, despite the fact that the leaders of government were in favour of the CCJ.

A second referendum on the CCJ is being now organised in Grenada. We would not be surprised if the results are the same as 2016.

 

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Wendy C Grenade

University lecturer commends ruling of CCJ

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 21, CMC –A senior lecturer at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has welcomed the ruling of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) regarding the registration of Commonwealth citizens to be included in the voters list ahead of the May 24 general election here.

Wendy C Grenade
Wendy C Grenade

St. Lucian academic, Professor Eddy Ventose had challenged the decision of the electoral authorities here to deny him the opportunity to be registered even though he has been resident in the country for several years. The matter was heard during an unprecedented sitting of the Court, two Sundays ago.

In its ruling, the CCJ, which is Barbados’s final court, said that the “long standing policy of the Electoral and Boundaries Commission in relation to Commonwealth citizens to register as electors … is unlawful and ultra vires.

“The Court is satisfied that on the basis of judicial finding pronounced in this matter, which has not been appealed, the applicant has satisfied the necessary legal and regulatory conditions for registration as an elector,” the CCJ ruled, threatening to jail the Chief Electoral Officer, Angela Taylor, if she failed to obey the ruling.

Dr. Wendy C Grenade, a senior lecturer in Political Science in the Department of Government, Sociology, Social Work and Psychology, said the “CCJ must be commended for acting with a sense of urgency in the Ventose case.

“Its responsiveness in dispensing justice to Professor Ventose and by extension to other Commonwealth Caribbean citizens in Barbados, must be applauded. The CCJ also promoted transparency in its deliberations by utilising technology to livestream the court session.

“This was a sophisticated act of techno-democracy, where the CCJ bridged the divide between itself and ordinary Caribbean people. The virtual court demystified lofty judicial proceedings. This was quite refreshing and reassuring, particularly for some who question the efficacy of the CCJ,” she said.

The lecturer said that the rule of law is a central pillar of any well-functioning democracy and that when state officials ignore or seek to frustrate rulings of the court, justice is denied and democratic norms are ruptured.

“The CCJ must be commended for demonstrating its judicial independence by protecting the rights of Commonwealth Caribbean citizens from the arbitrary exercise of power by a Caribbean state.

“The CCJ’s warning that Barbados’ Chief Electoral Officer will be imprisoned and/or fined if she does not comply with its ruling, sends a strong signal of its seriousness of purpose and its intention to apply the full extent of the law to ensure justice for Caribbean citizens. It also demonstrates that the state is not above the law and that state officials can be held accountable for their actions.”

She said that the Ventose case is also significant because it demonstrates the importance of judicial review as a critical means through which citizens can claim legal redress against laws or policies that infringe on their rights.

“Judicial review is a powerful weapon available to citizens in their battle for rights and justice. One can argue that, given the remoteness of the Privy Council and the relatively high costs associated with taking matters to the UK-based court, judicial review has not been a norm in the Caribbean’s legal praxis.

“However, the proximity of the CCJ to the Caribbean’s reality, provides impetus for increased citizen activism through judicial review. Professor Ventose must be complimented for channelling his legal skill to an activist cause,” she added.

The lecturer said that beyond the legal question, a major implication of the Ventose judgement is that Caribbean people who reside in other Caribbean territories must feel a sense of belonging to the Caribbean sister state where they live, work and pay taxes.

“The right to vote, as contentious as it may be, is one of the most cherished democratic rights, particularly for people whose history has been replete with oppression and denial of suffrage. The CCJ’s judgement in this case has affirmed the enfranchisement of the Caribbean “other”.

“Fifty odd years after independence, it is encouraging that an indigenous Caribbean Court can do so. This renews hope in the promise of regionalism.

“The ruling in this case is a victory not only for Commonwealth Caribbean citizens in Barbados but for Caribbean jurisprudence, Caribbean democracy and regional integration. It reinforces the urgency for other CARICOM countries to put systems in place to accede to the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction.’ To date, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have done so, although, except for the Bahamas, Haiti and Montserrat, all other CARICOM countries are members of the CCJ in its original jurisdiction.

The Grenada-born lecturer said that importantly, “this landmark judgement is most timely for Grenada as that country seeks to re-open the conversation on another referendum to facilitate Grenada’s accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ, replacing the UK-based Privy Council as Grenada’s highest Court of Appeal”.

She said the case “highlights several benefits of the CCJ, which should be the catalyst of a YES campaign going forward”.

http://cananewsonline.com/main/barbados-elections-university-lecturer-commends-ruling-of-ccj/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

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charged-in-passport-racket

Suspended Cop and Mother Charged in Antigua in Connection with Passport Forgery

Suspended Assistant Superintendent of Police Ray John and his mother, Yvonne Nickie leaving court yesterday. (Screen grab from ABS News)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday May 15, 2018 – A suspended senior police officer and his mother have been charged with fraud related to an alleged racket involving forging Antigua and Barbuda passports.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Ray John, 47, who was suspended last month pending an investigation; and his mother, 63-year-old Yvonne Nickie, were each granted EC$50,000 bail (US$18,523) yesterday when they appeared in court on several charges stemming from offences allegedly committed between January and March this year.

As part of their bail conditions, they had to surrender their travel documents and have to report to the police station daily.

In addition to facing five counts of conspiracy to forge Antigua and Barbuda passports jointly with his Vincentian-born mother, John is also accused of two counts of larceny of 54 multi-layered infilling sheets and one multi-layered infilling patch, valued EC$21,700, (US$8,039) the property of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office.

He is further accused of receiving four multi-layered infilling sheets and one multi-layered infilling patch valued at EC$1,300 (US$482), also property of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office, knowing same to have been stolen.

Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh ordered the mother and son to return to court on July 11.

The charges they were slapped with stem from an investigation that began in early April, into the discovery of bio pages of Antigua and Barbuda passports in the possession of a man in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

John was subsequently suspended after his home was searched and several items confiscated. His mother was visiting him at the time, but a few days later, as she boarded a flight back home at the V.C. Bird International Airport, she was held by police.

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Sir Denis Byron - CCJ President

Praises for Sir Dennis Byron as Antigua High Court observers his retirement

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, May 16, CMC – Prominent regional and international jurists Wednesday praised the contributions of the outgoing President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, for his immense contribution to Caribbean and international jurisprudence.

Sir Dennis Byron – CCJ President

Sir Dennis, 75, who leaves the Trinidad-based CCJ on July 3, was praised during a special sitting of the Antigua and Barbuda High Court for his years of service to the region and the international community as a lawyer and a judge.

Byron Farewell
Sir Dennis Byron (center) as Antigua and
Barbuda High Court holds special special sitting

“Sir Dennis, you are, you were and you will be Sir Dennis a man. Sir Dennis you touched the lives of so many persons in this country, in the region and internationally. You are truly a Caribbean man, a man who contributed not only to the development of Caribbean jurisprudence but the development of many a lawyer in the region,” Antigua and Barbuda’s Attorney general Steadroy “Cuttie” Benjamin said.

He said he would always be grateful to the advice of Sir Dennis, who instilled in him the need to have proper preparation in order to prevent poor performance and this is a message he too would like to leave with the wider regional community.

Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Dame Janice Pereira, recalled the influence that the St. Kitts-Nevis born jurist had on her professional development and that the majority of his career was spent in the Eastern Caribbean region.

“He has served the region with great distinction,” she said, noting that when he went to serve as a permanent Judge of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which is located in Tanzania, he did so again with much distinction.

“President Byron has legitimately earned the respect of all his colleagues and peers as one of the greatest jurist from the CARICOM region and beyond,” she said in her message that was read out by Justice Clare Henry, of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

The founding President of the Commonwealth Judicial Educational Institute and retired judge, Justice Sandra Oxner praised Sir Dennis’s “legacy to the Caribbean, the Commonwealth and the world” saying it is an impossible task to sum up the achievements of the retiring jurist.

Sir Dennis was first appointed as a High Court Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 1982 after a distinguished career in private practice. Subsequently, he served as Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. On September 1, 2011, he was sworn-in by the Governor-General of St Kitts and Nevis as the second President of the CCJ.

Sir Dennis’s judicial career spans a total of 36 years throughout which time he left an indelible mark on each of the three judiciaries over which he presided both as a judge of high distinction and as a judicial reformer.

In his remarks, Sir Dennis said he was “deeply touched by the kind and generous words from all the speakers” and that he hoped in the years to come “I will have opportunities to continue to engage in discussions on the many subjects which evoke passionate interests in me”.

He said he was thankful to God for “a life that has already spanned more than seven decades” and that his early upbringing in the Methodist Church in St. Kitts, “has profoundly influenced my life and my desire to serve.

“It has helped to shape my ideas on concepts of justice and mercy, has provided clarity in the midst of challenges and given me courage to dispense justice without fear or favour,” he said, praising also his parents whose influence “on my upbringing and early education played a critical role in preparing me for service to the region”.

He recalled his years working throughout the Caribbean and “those brilliant legal submissions and argumentations, and the invaluable interaction with judicial colleagues, even when in disagreement; they were all important tutorials” for him as a judge.

“That was my real schooling.  I am grateful to all those who played a part in the refinement and honing of my knowledge and skills.”

He said the principles of judging and judicial capacity development that he has learnt and tried to impart around the world had made him a better person and that his “judicial journey which has carried me from the bottom to the top of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court,  and not to omit the judiciary of Grenada when it had seceded from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, and the international Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has been most remarkable.

“I must say that the opportunity to serve humanity in that capacity provided tremendous leaning experiences and spiritual satisfaction. I have seen and heard from some who have been at every junction along the way and the impact that I may have made. But the truth is that I am more conscious of the tremendous impact that it and every step of the way has made on me.”

Sir Dennis, the second Caribbean national to head the CCJ, which was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, said that his tenure had been “a wonderful experience for me.

“Even with all my experiences of judiciaries around the world, sitting side by side with judges from every continent on the bench of an International Court, I am extremely proud to have been part of this outstanding court with judges of the highest calibre, work ethic and integrity.

“The culmination of a lifelong dream to be part of a final Caribbean court has only been eclipsed by the sheer enjoyment of working in an environment of such high intellect and quality,” he said, praising the work of his colleagues.

“I am a witness to contributions the court and its judges have made to the development of a Caribbean Jurisprudence and to facilitating regional integration. It has been an honour to serve amongst some of our region’s finest men and women all of whom take immense pride and diligence in discharging their duties.  “And I leave optimistic about the future journey of the CCJ under the able leadership of my brother, Justice Adrian Saunders who has already distinguished himself over the last two and half decades with his scholarship, energy and leadership qualities.”

But he said that his pleasure with the environment at the court goes well beyond his judicial colleagues, paying tribute to those who behind the scene had ensured the smooth running of the establishment.

“I want to say thank you to the Caribbean man and the Caribbean woman. Over the years my engagement in discussions with our ordinary folk have made me realise that the holders of the higher echelons of power, authority and education are not the sole repositories of wisdom in our communities. “These people have helped to keep my feet on the ground and sustain my belief that this region is more advanced and deservers higher credit that we are willing to give ourselves.

I think that I have been buoyed up by friendships that have guided protected and assisted me along the way. The names are too numerous to mention,” he said, paying tribute to his family for standing up with him while he pursued his dreams.”

“As time has crept up on me I have become acutely conscious of this and promise and pray that one of my priorities in retirement is to try and do better at being fully present for you. Yet despite my deficiencies in this regard I have never felt bereft of your love and I am grateful. “

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Antigua & Barbuda Minister Asot Resigns

Antigua & Barbuda Minister Asot Resigns

Asot Michael (File Photo)

The Minister of Investment and Trade Asot Michael has resigned.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne says the decision was taken this morning, after hours of discussion.

The Prime Minister wrote to the Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, telling him he has accepted Michael’s resignation.

Michael is facing fresh allegations that while Minister of Energy in 2016, he demanded money, a car and campaign financing from now scandal hit-British investor, Peter Virdee.

See resignation letter:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

 

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