The Pay Out And Posturing

AuthorDerence A. Rolle Davis
The Law: The Social and Economic Effect on The Bahamas 2000 - 2020
Oxford Dictionary describes the word “posturing” as behaviour that is
intended to impress or mislead. It is described here as trying to convince others
to believe that something is true when it is not.
Allison Maynard-Gibson, Attorney General (as she then was) proposed a
system of “swift justice”. Were these comments just a political posturing or a
possible system that can work? Gibson said that a backlogged and a broken
system cannot be fixed overnight. She hoped that judges changed their style of
doing things and an efficient system would be implemented in the region. Case
management may be the vision. She said that this will address the issues of Law
and order and strengthen transparency and accountability.
Gibson said that the key factors will be community courts, appointment of
Lay Magistrates, Security and Reporters and the Bahamas Integrated Justice
Information System (BIJIS) and Office of Ombudsman to investigate
independently into complaints about unfair or improper actions or poor service
by government agencies. The aim was to have trials before the Supreme Court
within two years from the date of offence.
Most of these things were just ideas that never materialized and in cases
where they did materialize, they could not be sustained. Perhaps it was a case of
posturing by the then AG, or perhaps it was that she forgot that the course of
justice is not the numbers of convictions. The focus should never be on the
numbers but on ensuring that justice is served. “Justice” means righteousness
and equity, or fairness in the way people are treated, even if it is not what the
person deserves. Ensuring justice means ensuring that those who are guilty are
punished and those that are innocent are released.
A part of the proposals made and the actions of Maynard-Gibson was the
removal of stenographers from the Magistrates’ Court and the elimination of
Preliminary Inquiries by the Magistrates. All indictable matters were directed to
the Supreme Court through the Voluntary Bill of Indictment (VBI) procedure.
Additionally, the power of the Magistrate to grant bail in cases listed in the Third
Schedule of the Penal Code was removed.

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