PRIME MINISTER IN CONTEMPT OF COURT?

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Prime Minister Dean Barrow took the “bully pulpit” of last week’s Business Forum to launch a scandalous and contemptible attack against a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court. The People’s United Party regards the Prime Minister’s assault on Justice Abel as deliberately designed to interfere with cases actually before the Judge, to intimidate the wider Judiciary, to scandalize the Court and ultimately undermine the rule of law Not only did PM Barrow severely criticize Justice Abel, but also referred to tax cases that are before another Justice of the Supreme Court threatening that he would do all that was possible to ensure that the Government wins the cases.

The PUP deplores this outrageous contempt of court by Barrow and calls on the Chief Justice to report this matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for appropriate action.—

The PUP recalls Barrow’s attack on the CCJ when it ordered the enforcement of the arbitral award against the Government. The Party recalls Barrow’s attacks on Justices of Appeal, which led to the resignation of Justice Mottley, his attempt to stack the Court of Appeal with friends which led to action against the appointment of the unqualified Franz Parke. In short, PM Barrow has a record of utter contempt for the judiciary.

The PUP calls on the Chief Justice to defend the independence of the judiciary from this hostile attack by the Prime Minister. Any moving of Government cases from Justice Abel to other judges will undermine confidence in the independence of the judiciary and reward the Prime Minister for his contempt.

The abuse of the Judiciary cannot be tolerated for it attacks the very foundation of our democracy and sets a dangerous precedent when the Executive in any way seeks to interfere with the business of the Courts.

The PUP calls on the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice to make public all correspondences between them on this matter and calls on the Chief Justice to assure the public that he will not engage in any negotiation or discussion with the Prime Minister regarding the selection of judges for Government cases. The PUP calls on PM Barrow to apologize to Justice Abel for this unprecedented act of bullying and shaming. The PUP also appeals to civil society, the churches and the social partners to condemn this attack on judiciary by the Prime Minister.