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Symmonds dismisses Inniss’ comments on CCJ

Meaningless drivel and brainless buffoonery!

That’s how attorney-at-law and Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds has dismissed recent criticisms levelled by Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss against the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Inniss told Parliament that he was “deeply troubled by the absence of Barbadians on the Caribbean Court of Justice and by the place being administered by citizens of countries who have refused and find all kinds of excuses not to have the CCJ as their final court of appeal.”

Kerrie Symmonds

Opposition MP Kerrie Symmonds

Dismissing the minister’s statement as ignorance more than malice, Symmonds said, “I am sick and tired of the brainless buffoonery which is touted about this region, seeking to pull down some of the few institutions that we have which are really working.

“It [CCJ] is not a lucky dip, it a serious body with a judicial staff that can be drawn from as many as 53 member states across the Commonwealth. It is therefore almost senseless to suggest that because a Barbadian is not on the court there is a problem with the institution,” he said.

The James Central MP, who told Barbados TODAY that he was angered by Inniss’ comments, pointed out that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments do not select the judges of the Trinidad-based regional court, arguing that adequate provision was made when it was established in 2001 to protect the CCJ from interference and this should be respected.

“The judges are selected by an independent body called a Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission and that body is made up of nominees of the BAR associations of the region, two chairmen of the judicial services commission of the member states.

“On a rotating business you have a chairman of the Public Service Commission of one of the member states, and again on a rotating basis you have an appointee of the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of the West Indies, so that the appointment of the judges of the court is therefore deliberately set at a level which is above petty and narrow nationalistic consideration and it is deliberately kept out of the hands of politicians so as to insulate it from the meaningless drivel that Minister Inniss uttered only yesterday.”

The Government minister had also argued that there were enough distinguished Barbadian jurists who had served across the region and were therefore well qualified to sit on the CCJ.

“But for whatever reason, we cannot find it fit to get one there,” Inniss charged.

However, Symmonds countered that the court had to service jurisdictions such as Suriname and Haiti and therefore required judges with an experience or skill in Roman/Dutch law in the case of Suriname and the French Civil Code which is followed in Haiti.

“So it is not just a simple, narrow consideration that you should get a judge from Jamaica or a judge from Barbados. It extends far beyond that in its scope and its reach and the last thing that this region really needs and this institution itself needs is for an unthinking critic with no substantive point to make to be dragging into disrepute the efficacy and the fairness of the Court of Justice.”

Barbados adopted the CCJ as its final court of appeal, replacing the British Privy Council on April 8, 2005.

8 Responses to Symmonds dismisses Inniss’ comments on CCJ

  1. winston ifill February 19, 2015 at 3:13 am

    Well Mr. Symmonds, seem like you collars got ruffle there. It also seem, while this great institution you so elegantly depict, made certain blunders in awarding 75k to a woman who wanted to sneak into Barbados with out giving the authorities the information they asked for.

    If Barbados has all of these distinguish Lawyers as you stated, don’t you think at lease one of them should be sitting on the CCJ?

    Seem like you are blowing some steam off and having a go at a minister who’s concern is nothing more than ensuring Barbados has proper representation in the boundaries of the CCJ. This is something you should be arguing for and not trying to sniffle the minister, looks a lot like playing politics to me.

  2. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 19, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Stupes have any of those countries you name join CCJ when last i heard it was only three Barbados /Belize and Guyana.

    • Augustine R Ferdinand
      Augustine R Ferdinand February 19, 2015 at 7:47 am

      Not because some countries haven’t joined the CCJ doesn’t mean some of the judgement passed down isn’t binding to them. Exp….the Myrie case is binding to all CARICOM member states

  3. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner February 19, 2015 at 5:45 am

    Stupes have any of those countries you name join CCJ when last i heard it was only three Barbados /Belize and Guyana.

  4. Alex Alleyne February 19, 2015 at 6:58 am

    The CCJ is a ‘ lucky dip” . Barbados is still the “whipping boy” island on the Caribbean . Please continue to speak your mind and tell it like it is Mr . Innis . Kerrie hoping to get a “pick” some day out there .

  5. Carl Harper February 19, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Does Donville Inniss think that the CCJ is the politically appointed Employment Rights Tribunal which cannot function in almost two years of its existence? The CCJ must maintain its independence and not be tainted with political interference.

    Inniss seems to want the final appellate court to resemble one of Government’s statutory department Boards where he can appoint and disappoint its members, and influence its decisions.

    The St James South MP needs to shut-up since no one has ever heard him mouthing off in Parliament and calling for a Bajan jurist to sit on the British Privy Council.

  6. Winnie Meade
    Winnie Meade February 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

    The AG and Mr inniss only a smoke talk why now it to talk UA away from the real problem why they don’t talk about calico and people cannot get them tax return and them sick money it was Eastwick now it them turn to take us away from the real issue budget coming in aprial now you see what hi am saying Look for more increase watch and see lord please help us

  7. Tony Waterman February 19, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    @winston ifill!!!!first of all, the CCJ did not make any Blunders, they made a decision based on the Arguments that were put forward before them, and the arguments put forward by the three Educated FOOLS we sent to represent us was anaemic at best, they even complained that the Female lawyer(NO QC) who was representing Ms.Myrie, was asking UNFAIR QUESTIONS,they behaved like first year Lawyers, perhaps the were of the opinion that their OPPONENT was not of their CALIBER and would therefore be a walk over. it had nothing to do with the CCJ, it was our Lawyers INCOMPETENCE that lost the case.

    It is for this very reason that the Judge Selection is done this way, it is to prevent just what Donville Inniss is seemingly seeking to do now, INSERT POLITICAL INTERFERENCE in the JUDICIAL processes of the CCJ, Unfortunately about 53 other Jurisdictions have signed the protocol governong how this procedure is accomplished, and Barbados will HAVE to abide with the rules as the had signed them POriginally or leave the CCJ and CRAWL back to HER MAJESTY’S PRIVY COUNCIL.

    @ Rawle Spooner!!!Those three are all FULL MEMBERS of the CCJ including FINAL APPELATE COURT, but ALL the Others ARE Members of the CCJ (No Appelate Court YET)

    @Augustine R Ferdinand!!! You are so True, CCJ Judgements Still affect the 50 others who have not yet signed on to the final appelate Court.

    @Alex Alleyne!!!People like you and Donville Inniss are Part of the Problem, Barbados is not anyone’s Whipping Boy, Barbados is seen as being DISRESPECTFUL, and ARROGANT
    (arrogant:-a sense of superiority, self-importance, or entitlement:)

    @Carl Harper!!!Paragraph 1 & 2 were ok, but when did The St James South MP have an opportunity to request that a Bajan it on the Privy Council. pleae take into account his date of Birth and his entry into Law/Politics.


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