A major error of omission has resulted in a number of this island’s top attorneys, including Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and the Speaker of the House of Assembly Michael Carrington, being left off of the Professional List of Attorneys who are authorized to practice here.
Former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons and former judges John Connell and Marguerite Woodstock-Riley, who is a former chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association, are also among a ‘who is who’ in the legal fraternity in Barbados, whose names, according to the Official Gazette of January 22, 2018, were erroneously omitted between 2016 and 2017.
A senior attorney, who did not want to be identified by name, explained that the Bar was primarily responsible for preparing the lists for submission to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, based on those attorneys who have paid their annual subscriptions.
The Queen’s Counsel, whose name is not among those omitted, said while the Bar would normally send a letter to each lawyer notifying them that it was time to pay, the “boo boo” could have occurred at various levels, resulting in the names being excluded at the time of publication by the Bar.
“A busy lawyer could forget to write the cheque . . . . The cheque could be written but may reach the Bar after the deadline to pay the subscription, or the cheque could be in the Bar’s office on time but someone there fails to process it on time,” he told Barbados TODAY, adding that the onus was on the attorneys themselves to follow through once the payment was made.
Interestingly, the President of the Bar Association Liesel Weekes, as well as executive member and Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) candidate for Christ Church East Wilfred Abrahams were also among names erroneously left off, so too Opposition Member of Parliament for St Joseph and former attorney general Dale Marshall, as well as Opposition MP for St Andrew George Payne.
Two other Opposition representatives were also “erroneously omitted”, namely St Michael South East Santia Bradshaw and Opposition candidate for Christ Church South Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne.
The faux pas also created a potentially embarrassing situation for ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for Christ Church West Verla De Peiza and her brother Francis, who is a former DLP candidate for St Michael North.
So too legal luminary Sir Richard Cheltenham, QC, along with his younger brother Patterson Cheltenham, QC; Deputy Clerk of Parliament Richard Byer; former juvenile court magistrate Faith Marshall-Harris; social activist David Comissiong; former Police Commissioner Orville Durant; former Chief Magistrate and Registrar of the Supreme Court Shirley Belle, QC; former diplomat Dr Waldo Waldron-Ramsey, QC; legal counsel for the state-run Child Care Board Beverley Walrond, QC whose names were all omitted.
However, The Gazette has clarified that this was done in error.
Efforts to reach the Bar president for comment today were unsuccessful.