ST JOHN’S –– Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), Dame Janice Pereira, has lashed out at heads of government of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for their lack of financial support for the proper and smooth operations of the courts.
She was at the time delivering an address via simulcast in Anguilla to mark the opening of the 2014-2015 15 opening of the new law year on Wednesday.
“Considering the importance of the work of the courts to the economic well being of our countries, the amounts of money which are being allocated to the proper functioning of the justice system are in my view, woefully inadequate,” she stated. “The inadequate resources with which the court has had to function on a daily basis has adversely impacted our output.”
She stated that she shared the vision of many of her predecessors that one day an ideal arrangement would be attained, whereby, the dependency on the executive for the funding of the court would be translated into full fiscal autonomy consistent with the universally accepted concept of judicial independence.
“This achievement, no doubt, will go a long way towards our promoting and meeting the vision of the court,” she said.
She continued: “Until this vision is realized, to assist in alleviating this strain the court has had to resort to the use of counter measures, one of which is sourcing external funding to implement a number of initiatives which are needed to improve overall access to justice.”
Even this, she stated creates “its own share of uncertainties since the project funding is largely dependent on a number of external factors including the nature of the programs, the policies of donor agencies at the time of requests and the funds which are available for allocation to individual projects”.
“I assure you that the court has remained undaunted in carrying out its mission. Indeed, times of adversity, should be viewed as great opportunities for imagination and innovation. We have been striving to make the best use of the limited resources provided,” the chief justice said.
(Dominica News Online)