Marston Gibson, judicial referee in New York, earmarked to be Barbados’ next Chief Justice, remains committed to returning home for the position whenever the legal hurdles are cleared.
Minutes before the House of Assembly passed the amendment to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act early yesterday morning, Gibson told the SUNDAY SUN from his Long Island home that although the debate in Parliament showed the Government and the Opposition divided on removing the legal barrier to his assuming office, he wouldn’t be deterred by the suggestion he would be in an “invidious position” by having to place “country over self” in taking up the post.
“I am currently in an invidious position as the lone black judicial referee in the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County and I have worked with it since 1998 . . . ,” he said. .
“I am committed to assuming duties if and when the position becomes available because I believe I can do something about the system which currently exists.
“I don’t think I am the only person who can perform the duties as Chief Justice, I have some ideas about how to make a substantial difference in Barbados. I am not arrogant, but I am confident that I can make a difference and that’s why I remain committed to it.”
During the parliamentary debate, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite made the case for the amendment on the ground that the change in the law was vital to end an untenable situation in which a Pakistani lawyer who didn’t speak English would be qualified to serve as a judge, while denying the same opportunity to an eminently qualified Barbadian simply because he had not practised in a Commonwealth country for 15 years.
Gibson said he welcomed the discussion in Parliament because it brought the issue before the public and it did so in a chamber which was the only body that could make the necessary changes.