The CCJ under attack – ‘politicians in robes’

The total electoral devastation of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the political exit door shown to former Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, by the Barbados electorate at the elections last Thursday, is an apt and decisive answer to the vicious attack Stuart made on the Caribbean Court of Justice earlier in the week, when referring to the judges derogatorily as ‘politicians in robes.’ It is not unusual for politicians to be peeved by court decisions. Guyanese politicians have expressed ‘concern’ about issues relating to the CCJ on several occasions in the past, including the recent past.

In the UK, the developed country from which we inherited our laws and jurisprudence, and whose precedents are the most influential in the CCJ, judges and courts are regularly criticized, as they should be. But Stuart did not merely criticize; he unjustifiably attacked the CCJ for political bias and undertook to withdraw from the Court. Had he won the elections, Barbados’s withdrawal would have dealt a crushing blow to Caribbean unity and, worse, would have weakened Caribbean jurisprudence and the rule of law in the region.

The former Prime Minister was angry because the CCJ ruled against Barbados for the second time. First it was the Shanique Myrie case. Barbados, then in the throes of its anti-immigrant bias, exploited by the DLP to obtain its electoral victory in 2008, had refused entry to Myrie who was a Jamaican national. The CCJ ruled that the refusal violated the Caricom Treaty. Barbados had to pay damages…..