A miscarriage of justice


Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson recently made a plea for men to come forward and help with tackling crime and violence in Barbados. This is because some of our school children appear to be out of control.

Please allow me the opportunity to share with the people of Barbados and the Caribbean my concern as to why there is such an increase in violence, in particular gun violence. There are two points I would like to make.

Firstly, Barbados and the Caribbean have a history of violence against black people and there has never been an instituted plan of action to address the lingering pain of that history.

However, there is hope. The public needs to know that the National Task Force on Reparations has made a number of recommendations in its report, now before Government, that, if implemented, will address many of the concerns, the lingering pain and respond to the violence and crime. Our young people need to know their history and embrace who they are.

Secondly, there is a serious mischarge of justice in keeping persons on remand for long periods of time. It affects them mentally and also impacts negatively on their relatives and associates, causing anger and pain. Some of the persons so detained are troubled by the mischarges of justice and human rights violations, and have warned that if this is not addressed it could fuel increased violence and crime in our region.

Personally I can make reference to a number of cases where young men are held on remand for years, during which time they became very angry. However, in this article I will refer to only one such case involving a Jamaican national, who came to Barbados on a work permit. Shortly thereafter he was arrested, charged and detained at HMP Dodds.

He was on remand for over seven years before he was granted bail on his own recognizance. There are aspects of his case that I will not disclose at this point. However, as a human rights and social justice advocate, I was approached for advice in bringing public attention to his case. He convinced me of his innocence and asked if my human rights organization – the Non-State Actors Reparations Commission –  could assist him. I said I would discuss the matter at our next committee meeting. However, he was subsequently re-arrested on another charge. I therefore paid no further attention to his case. This was until I received an invitation to visit him in prison.

For the past four years I have been visiting the Jamaican, who is on remand. I did not realize the impact my visits had on this young man until other inmates who are also on remand started contacting me, inviting me to visit them. Because of my personal experience of being unjustly incarcerated in England and my human rights activism I responded to all requests from the inmates. Presently there are some 12 inmates claiming that their rights are being violated. Over the years they gave me the nickname ‘the human rights man’.

Subsequently the charges relating to the Jamaican for which he had spent over seven years on remand were dropped and he was offered bail on the present charges. However, he had difficulties getting someone to stand bail for him because he is a foreign national. It took him over 19 months before someone did agree to stand his bail. I was very happy for this young man and expected to hear that he was out of prison. However, I was surprised to learn in November 2017 when I received a request to visit him, that he was not given bail. On Monday, December 11, 2017, I visited the accused and I was informed that on November 15 –  the date set for signing his bail – he, his attorney and the person standing surety received a shock when the judge took it upon herself (without notice) to increase his bail on the spot. As a result, he was sent back to HMP Dodds, where he has now spent over 11 years on remand for two charges on which he made a bold claim of his innocence.

I found the ruling by the judge very disturbing and because I had previously written to the Chief Justice on the matter of remand prisoners, including the Jamaican, I immediately wrote to him again to inquire if the action by this judge was a normal practice or is this man being victimized!

It is my opinion that this action by the judge and the continuous long periods of detention on remand is a violation of his rights. I am troubled as to if the practice of keeping persons on remand for many years is justified. Those inmates I have been visiting over the years in particular, those who are foreign nationals have taught me a great lesson and have reminded me of the injustice we people of African descent experienced in England during the 1960s to 1980s and what we are presently experiencing in the USA.

I have been a human rights advocate for the past 40 years and I am a member of the committee for the National Task Force on Reparations (TFoR). The TFoR has completed a five year report, which is now before Government. My view is if our Caribbean leaders are seeking reparatory justice from others, we must do justice to our own. Having our young men incarcerated on remand for years is not right. How do you justify keeping a young man on remand for seven years and then dropping all charges? I therefore call on the media to investigate and report to the public on the reasons why our young men are kept on remand for such long periods. Justice delayed is justice denied. The Jamaican, whose case I presented above, should be released on his own recognizance or his trial date should be set.

Rev. Buddy Larrier

Source: Rev. Buddy Larrier

6 Responses to A miscarriage of justice

  1. Carson C. Cadogan March 6, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    That is the way some BLACK people treat BLACK people.

    If those now on remand for inordinately long periods of time were WHITE, INDIAN or ASIAN they would never have been sent to prison in the first place.

    These cases need to be brought to the attention of the United Nation Human rights Commission.

  2. carl sealy March 6, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    People need to start with lawsuits against the government. Police alleged to hold you with a gun , and you win the case, I believe that a people should be in titled to some sort of compensation. Loss of time, the psychological effect , the scaring of your name, the anxiety etc. If every person did that , the government would be force to rethink there attitude toward POOR people that enter into the court system. No justice for poor people. The great Errol Barrow told poor to stay out of the law courts because new the injustice that would occur.

  3. fedup March 6, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Ask OSA wuh happen dat de retired judges from “down under” changed duh minds bout helping out wid de proposed ‘night court’ during his ‘reign’?

  4. Othneal March 7, 2018 at 7:22 am

    I found this article extremely disturbing and as a Barbadian, shameful. The case history cited,bears all the characteristics of a dysfunctional judicial system. Some despotic regemes have more respect for jurisprudence and basic human rights.
    Buddy Larier shon a spotlight on the elephant in the room when he highlighted the failure of African Carribeans to address the ” lingering pain” of our history. There has been a conspiracy of silence and denial that equates to shackles designed to ensure that we remain acquiescent, compliant and self-destructive, without ever being aware of the cause of our self loathing. This is no coincidence. Those who perpetrated the evil that determined our history want us to believe that their uninvited interest in us has always been benevolent and left us with an educational system that perpetuates that myth.
    Our leaders over the last 50yrs. have been complicit and self-serving. Generations of young Black people have been betrayed. If you don’t know where you came from you will have no idea where you are going. We are now experiencing the results of 50yrs. of inertia.
    The solution? A comprehensive review of the Judicial and Education systems by intrepid and radical Black people.
    It’s time we shaped our own destiny!

  5. Tony Waterman March 7, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    @Buddy Larrier, why dont you push the Envelope, by making an attempt to to get Leave to appeal to the CCJ on behalf of ALL those ON Remand at Dodds for these ILLEGAL (By Constitution) lengths of time.
    I my self has in the Past made it Known that these things areVIOLATIONS of these persons Constitutional Rights, but Bajans in general dont care or take notice, until they are affected, which at that point would be too Late.
    Case in Point, the BDF on the Streets alongside the RBPF is against what is written in the Constitution, yet some are saying that this has been done for XXXX Years, well!!! It was also wrong for those XXXX Years as the Constitution has clearly said that it is Wrong, Yet Not one Bajan has spoken out against/about it.
    I keep remindong about this , The Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller Poem:-
    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.
    This eventuall WILL come true in Barbados unless someone stands Today

  6. hcalndre March 9, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Tony Waterman; they are no other Nation of people like the Barbadian/bajan on this earth especially the ones that never left Barbados.. I always wonder if it`s because Barbados was the first stop where the slaves were dropped and indoctrinated, the ones that were kept were docile and obedient. On CBC radio this morning I heard the police officer explaining the law about use of cell phones in your vehicle. He said that even when you pull to the side of the road even on a lay way, engine turn off you will still be given a ticket if you are using your cell, you must be out of the vehicle, can it be used in passenger or back seat? I wonder if these people that are responsible for bringing legislations on the barbadian people do so because they hear of other countries having them, but can never get them implemented the correct way. Its a good thing that Barbados don`t have snow or blizzards, what about the rain, what if the person pull to the side not feeling well and need to make an emergency call, What about areas that are lonely and not properly lit, they must exit their vehicle too. Go and come again with a little common sense.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *