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EDITORIAL: A job well done, Justice Moore


EDITORIAL: A job well done, Justice Moore

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THE IMPENDING RETIREMENT of Justice of Appeal the Hon. Sherman Moore from the local judiciary brings into focus a stellar career of public service to this country of which any Barbadian would be proud and which every Barbadian should applaud.

In the full glare of public scrutiny, this distinguished Barbadian has been quietly involved in nation-building both as a jurist and as a high quality member of our military establishment, in which latter capacity he has given this country the benefit of his wide and varied experience gained while of service to the British military.

His retirement comes at a time when from some quarters there are voices calling into question some aspects of our judicial system; and the traditional silence of those who adorn our courts as presiding officers, may often obscure the fact that, even on casual observation by those on the outside looking in; being a judge is a demanding, responsible and very lonely job especially in small societies.

Immediately on appointment, circumspection and discretion means that one’s circle of friends must be carefully reviewed and the full blasts of a thousand and one pair of eyes attach like lasers to one’s every movement and action. 

Some say that this is natural for an appointment which is made under the protection of the Constitution and places enormous power in the hands of an individual. To some extent they are justified in that opinion.

Yet, Barbadians should be aware that criticism such as it is; is aimed more at the system than at the judges themselves and even the most casual observer of the published court lists reveals a heavy and varied slate of cases covering a wide spectrum of the law, which has to tax even the sharp intellect of our judges.

When one considers that our judges often have to cross over from the civil side to criminal cases at the Assizes and that civil judgments and summations in criminal cases have to be delivered and written; it seems clear that more judges are required; and that there will have to be a demarcation between those who man the civil side and those who preside at criminal Assizes.

In all of this management of the Registry and of the court system, including the magistrates’ courts, with limited resources, constantly demands skills of the highest order, for highly dedicated judges like Justice Moore can do their very best, for which we are as a nation eternally grateful; but organisational changes are required.

Careful reflection at this time ought to convince us that more judges are required, and that improvements in the Registry and in the Magistrates Courts are long overdue. The best and most efficient paralegals working in the system must be regarded as professionals in their own right so that they do not get transferred into the general civil Service because of administrative practice, which then places newcomers in the court systems.

Of course none of this should diminish the signal honour due to our retiring Justice of Appeal. He has fought the good fight, and in thanking him for a job well done, we hope that his example encourages young professionals to act on the truth of his statement that there in no nobler deed than public service.

We wish His Lordship an enjoyable and well earned retirement!