A local religious leader told the church service which marked the official opening of the legal year at St. Mary’s Anglican this morning, that the judicial system in Barbados was not designed to benefit the “small man” and should be changed.
In his sermon, Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgetown and Kingstown, Jason Gordon, used two characters on which to build his message, drawn from a story in the Bible of a widow and a judge.
Gordon named the widow or powerless one “Miss Little One” and the judge, dubbed “Mr B MaGuffy”, or the one who has the power, feared neither God nor man, cared nothing about what people thought, was unjust and used his power to suit himself.
He also brought a third character into the picture, which he called “Lady Harmony”, describing “her” justice — that essential quality for right order in society, added the priest.
“After 46 years of Independence, when we have the administration of the nation and justice in our hands, in a country where we believe in the rule of law, we have reached this untenable position, where the legal system is plagued by reports of lawyer misconduct, poor administration within the registry, including files being lost, delays in the administration of justice, with thousands of cases reportedly being outstanding,” the Catholic bishop noted.
Gordon also listed judicial decisions not handed down in a timely manner, “resulting in injustice to Miss Little One, (and) violations of human rights, as persons remain on remand for extended periods of time”.
“It sounds to me,” he reasoned, “as if our character Mr. MaGuffy is large and in charge, not just in the leaders, but at every level of the legal system.
“This system is not working to bring Lady Harmony to our people. It is not designed to serve Miss Little One. It is tired and need innovation. Your core business is the restoration of Lady Harmony. Everything you do, must serve this end.” (EJ)