New C.C.J. Judge Denys Barrow Says Dreams Do Come True
Senior Counsel Denys Barrow is a few months away from becoming Belize’s highest ranked appointed judge regionally. He will join the bench of the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in June, leaving behind a lucrative career as top pick for the Government of Belize to litigate cases in the local and regional courts. Prime Minister and older brother Dean Barrow had noted that he would have had cause to complain if Belize were without representation on the court for much longer, considering its long-standing commitment to the judicial body. But it was a regional independent body that made the final choice and now that it is confirmed, the soon-to-be judge was free to speak to reporters this morning.
Denys Barrow, Judge-Designate, Caribbean Court of Justice
“A practitioner in Belize, as well as in one of these smaller jurisdictions, can know from the time he starts, that basically the sky is the limit. A fellow – in this instance, me – has gone from starting as an ordinary, everyday, callow lawyer, to having been appointed after going through the various experiences, I have been appointed to what is the ultimate level, and I think the example, the goal-achievement possibility that my appointment provides is a lovely one. The appointments to the C.C.J. are made by a body called the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission. It is a body where apart from the President of the C.C.J., who sits as chair of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, there is absolutely no political appointments to that body. So it is the R.J.L.S.C. which appoints judges – they advertise in all the countries of the region, all the CARICOM countries; and I’m certain they advertise abroad as well – so you apply, everybody applies, whether you are the sitting Chief Justice of Zimbabwe, or you are a humble practitioner in Belize, you apply.”
Barrow, a former judge of the Belize Court of Appeal and Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, says his selection was from a shortlist of six, selected from a field of thirty, after an interview with ten of the eleven Commissioners of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission. Belize has been a member of both the Original and Appellate Jurisdictions of the Court since June first, 2010, meaning that Belize will have acceded for exactly seven years when Barrow formally joins the court. There are three other countries that have the CCJ as their final appellate court: Guyana, Dominica and Barbados.