The Government’s chief advisor on fighting poverty is seeking to start a “Justice for Barbados” organisation aimed at helping “disenfranchised” people negotiate the criminal justice system.
While keen to put distance between his Government appointment and the non-governmental movement he is trying to create, Corey Layne stressed that the idea to form the grouping arose from repeated calls from several people reporting their difficulty with lawyers.
Layne said: “They have these court cases and these documents from the 1980s and on paper that used to be white and now brown because of the length of time.
“They have a stack of letters they have written to Governor General, Former Governors Generals, the Attorney General, Prime Ministers and it honed the fact to me that so many people have suffered at the hands of the injustice system that we have.
“A lot of people see justice as ‘just ice’ and I would like to bring it to a point where it is justice because I believe that it is also fueling a lot of the violence that we have because if there is no justice then there will be no peace. It reconfirmed in my mind the number of Barbadians that have really suffered because of the issue and I always wanted to lobby for something to be done there.”
Layne proposed the creation of a support group for victims of crime to help them recover from trauma.
Turning his attention to the debate on the amendment of the Bail Act the founder of Nature Fun Ranch said he believed criminals should be given the possibility of having bail with the court cases being handled in a swift and precise manner.
He said: “What we need is to have these cases handled in a swift and efficient manner and not say that we need to keep everyone on remand. I believe that a magistrate should be able to decide if they are a flight risk, if they will tamper with evidence if they would tamper with witnesses and determine that [they] will remand them.
“I do not think we need legislation to speak to that. I think we need to use discretion and a little bit of common sense to keep those dangerous people remanded and making sure those cases are swift.”
Layne said that the previous Democratic Labour Party Government had implemented measures to speed up the judicial system.
He said: “I understand the last administration would have brought legislation to remove the preliminary inquiry which would have taken a while. They introduced the use of technology in the court so you do not have to talk to the speed that someone writes.
“All of these things were put in place to speed up the trial so that in six months we can have those cases opened, dealt with and closed. Therefore, having someone on remand for six months is not unreasonable.”