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May 31, 2017

CCJ to Elevate Denys Barrow; Dominica’s Cabral Wants to Stop the Show

There is an important event that takes place this Thursday.  It is the elevation of Senior Counsel Denys Barrow as a judge to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Barrow is the first Belizean to be appointed to Belize’s highest court of appeal, which is headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago; other members are Guyana, Barbados and Dominica. Justices of the C.C.J. began arriving today for the auspicious ceremony. But on the eve of that event, the C.C.J. is shrouded in controversy.  Caribbean News Now has published an open letter to the Regional and Judicial Services Commission which has also been copied to the entire Bar Association of Belize.  The unprecedented letter is dated May twenty-fifth and is written by attorney Cabral Douglas of Dominica. He opens by stating that there are concerns about the C.C.J.’s independence echoed throughout the region by leaders and citizens of the Caribbean.  Cabral refers to Dominica’s first case before the C.C.J. which he describes as fraught by so many blatant irregularities, political interference and scandal.  Douglas outlines events to bolster his assertion. He contends in his open letter that the President of the court met with the defendant in the case the day before a ruling was handed down and as such the conduct of the president “gives rise to the appearance of political interference based on the C.C.J.’s very own guidelines.”  Douglas also questions whether it is proper for a sitting judge to be meeting and communicating with a party to a judicial proceeding while the matter is in progress.  It is second visit of the C.C.J. The first was back in January 2015.  Sir Dennis Byron was here to deliver the keynote address at the 2015 Law Conference hosted by the Bar Association of Belize. At the time, he met in private sessions with the Prime Minister, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and Justice Manuel Sosa, President of the Court of Appeal and the Governor General, Sir Colville Young. Interestingly, that visit took place when matters before the C.C.J. included the nationalisation of B.T.L.

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1 Response for “CCJ to Elevate Denys Barrow; Dominica’s Cabral Wants to Stop the Show”

  1. Teacher says:

    I hear where you are coming from, and where you are going, Lord.

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