A proud day for Barbados. This is how Attorney General Dale Marshall described the moment Justice Andrew Burgess became the first Barbadian to serve as a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Judge.
However, Attorney General made it clear that successive Governments have never held the view that Barbados is entitled to have a judge sitting on the region’s highest appellate body, which was established 13 years ago.
“This is a tremendous honor for Barbados. Justice Burgess will be the first Barbadian to have ascended to the ranks of the Caribbean Court of Justice. The CCJ has always been an important court for Barbados but we never felt that because we were involved in the early stages and committed fully to CCJ as our final appeals court, a Barbadian had to be on it,” said Marshall.
He was apparently referring to the fact that the CCJ is the final Court of Appeal on civil and criminal matters for only four CARICOM members states, Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.
Notwithstanding, the AG noted that Burgess’ appointment represented new heights to which members of the Barbados legal fraternity can aspire.
“I look forward to him contributing greatly to the emergence and development of Caribbean jurisprudence and he will be a source of inspiration to all Barbadians. Lawyers and jurists would be able to say that one of us made it to that level and it is therefore a door that is open to the rest of us,” he said.
This morning Justice Burgess took the oath to serve, before Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at the Government House. Several high-ranking members of the judiciary and Government were present including Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and Acting Prime Minister George Payne.
In extending his congratulations to the newest CCJ Judge, Marshall said that the honor was well-deserved given his achievements with accolades which include serving on the Supreme Court of Barbados and Dean of the Faculty of Law for the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
“I am happy that the time has come since Justice Burgess has excelled both as a teacher of law – and I happen to be one of his students – and he has also excelled on the Bench. His intellect is sound and his judicial acumen is well sought after not just in Barbados but internationally,” he noted.