Despite safety concerns, the island’s court marshals will not be armed with guns to protect themselves during execution of their duties. And, for the time being, they will not be allowed to carry tasers or pepper spray either.
Registrar of the Supreme Court Barbara Cooke-Alleyne said the authorities were aware of the dangers these marshals faced while executing their day-to-day functions.
However, she told Barbados TODAY following the closing ceremony of a training course for 15 court marshals at the Regional Police Training Centre that providing them with deadly or potentially crippling weapons was out of the question.
“We have to discuss and see whether that is within the law [on whether] pepper sprays and tasers are acceptable. I am not sure that they are and we have to stay within the realms of the law of what they can use and not use.
“Baton training is good for them as well because we know that is something that they can use as well to defend themselves within the boundaries of the law. So, pepper sprays and tasers we are thinking of how to defend yourself, how to protect yourself, as opposed to having to assist you in an arrest,” she told Barbados TODAY.
The top judicial official gave the assurance, however, that the marshals’ safety remained a concern.
“It’s a different Barbados. That is why they had this course. This course is supposed to help them, prepare them, on how to disarm persons with weapons and how to use their handcuffs whilst they [exercise their duties],” Cooke-Alleyne said.
She said that marshals also depended heavily on police for assistance and revealed that discussions were being held with Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite on how to improve their security.
Meantime, addressing the gathering, Chief Marshal Adrian Lovell said his charges faced dangers from both humans and animals in the execution of their duties, while insisting that they needed to know how to defend themselves.
“Marshals encounter resistance from the public, third parties [such as family members of the accused], they also get attacks from animals and the occasional weapon-yielding accused. Under those circumstances the marshals must be able to defend themselves,” Lovell said.
Course coordinator deputy commandant Rodney Archer urged the marshals to be agents of change while the Commandant of the Regional Police Training Centre Sylvester Louis urged them to get themselves physically fit in order to execute their jobs effectively.