Complaining that they were losing business due to the ongoing closure of the Supreme Court at White Park Road, The City, the leadership of the Barbados Bar Association will meet in emergency session with Attorney General Dale Marshall early next week.
Marshall confirmed this afternoon during a tour of the new police complex at Cane Garden, St Thomas, where two temporary criminal courts for the High Court will be located, that he would meet in his office on Monday for urgent talks with Bar President Liesel Weekes.
He gave no further details about the discussions, however, while welcoming the temporary courts, Weekes made it clear that the Bar had prepared a number of recommendations, which it wanted to discuss with Marshall, to push forward pending cases.
“We are heartened that there is going to be some movement in at least the criminal jurisdiction soonest. From the AG’s comments this is going to happen next week, and we are very pleased we are going to have that movement because we are concerned at the Bar that we can’t have accused’s matters tried in a timely manner, particularly those persons who are on remand,” she said.
Weekes said these accused persons needed to have speedy justice and their constitutional rights upheld.
“In relation to the civil aspect of things, it is unfortunate we can’t start as we had previously hoped, which was the 20th of June. We do know that in trying to find solutions sometimes other issues may crop up. You can’t meet the deadlines that you had hoped to meet,” said the head of the grouping of lawyers, which states on its website that it exists to ensure that legal services here are offered “in the highest degree of professionalism”.
However, she said her organization had compiled some “ameliorating” recommendation which it wanted the attorney general to seriously consider.
Speaking in Marshall’s presence, but revealing none of the recommendations, Weekes nevertheless contended that the suggestions would address some of the cases pending without the construction of a new building.
“We are hoping that the meeting with the AG on Monday, we would be able to ventilate those . . . have some proper discussion on the feasibility of the things that we have recommended and then some final decision on how we would move forward. We do need to have a strategic plan I might add going forward, for when things like this happen,” she emphasized.
“We are dealing with mold presently, but if the roof were to fly off of any of these buildings we need to have a plan that would allow us to continue working, notwithstanding that the facility is under siege. I hope that when we have our discussions, we don’t only look at what is immediately happening, but we look to develop a plan for how we have business continuity for the future,” Weekes told reporters.
The spokesperson for the legal fraternity argued that operations must not be allowed to grind to a halt, particularly for lengthy periods.
“That is a requirement we need to meet,” she added.
During this afternoon’s tour, Marshall revealed that two temporary criminal High Courts would operate from the Cane Garden Police Complex, while the civil court would begin sitting at Manor Lodge, St Michael as soon as refurbishment work was completed in the near future.