Lawyers and government officials with Chief Justice Janice Pereira (front row, centre) outside St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral.
ANGUILLA--The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) hosted events for the opening of the Law Year in Anguilla. The events started with a church service at the Pro Cathedral of St. Mary’s with Canon Reid Simon leading, followed by a walk to the High Court. Chief Justice Janice Pereira inspected the guard of honour of members of the Royal Anguilla Police Force assembled in front of the Court House.
Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Deputy Governor Perin Bradley, Premier Ellis Lorenzo Webster and other government officials along with lawyers and court officials were assembled in the High Court to listen to the chief justice and other officials of the ECSC. The address by Pereira was under the theme “The ECSC: Navigating the Changing Tides”. She said she was happy to return to Anguilla where she had served for some years, saying that it is a time of reflection on the working of the courts. She noted that it was the first physical sitting following two years of virtual sittings.
Chief justice inspecting guard of honour escorted by Acting Inspector Kevin Edwards.
Chief justice giving her address in the High Court.
The chief justice recalled the 55th Anniversary of the ECSC held last year, noting that it remains a pillar of law in the region and the world. She said that challenges continue to affect justice in the region. She reported that phase 2 of the electronic mitigation portal is continuing with the expansion to include the Magistrates Courts. She spoke of progress in the Family Division, the framework of mediation in criminal matters; minors appearing in court; civil procedure rules; and the judicial supplement that is a pilot project in Dominica to alleviate back cases.
Pereira noted that an issue of concern is the waning of public confidence in the judiciary. She said that when the public loses confidence, persons can take matters into their own hands and this must be avoided at all costs. She told lawyers that they must do everything to promote public trust and confidence and must adhere to ethical standards, integrity and professionalism. She suggested that more education for the public is needed, noting that sentencing guidelines have been published in simple language.
The chief justice concluded by listing new appointments within the ECSC and thanking all those who work within the system.
The first address was delivered by Anguilla’s Attorney General Dwight Horsford. Other speakers who spoke virtually included Claudette Joseph, Attorney General of Grenada; Sherma Dalrymple, Director of Public Prosecutions in Dominica; Rechanne Browne, Chief Magistrate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Peter Foster on behalf of the Inner Bar and St. Lucia; and Michael Fay, also on behalf of the Inner Bar and the British Virgin Islands. Jean Dyer, President of the OECS Bar Association, Kurlyn Merchant on behalf of the Constituent Bar Association of St. Kitts and Nevis, Renee Morgan representing the Utter Bar and Monserrat, and Mandi Thomas on behalf of the Junior Members of the Utter Bar and Antigua and Barbuda, all gave addresses.
The chair of proceedings was Anguilla’s High Court Judge Ermin Moïse, who wrapped up proceedings by thanking all the speakers and those present and wishing the chief justice all the best for the coming year.