Bar Association also condemns criticism of regional judiciary and urges a collaborative approach to tackling crime

The Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association has joined its regional counterparts in condemning what it sees as unwarranted attacks on the judiciary.

The Association is affirming that it is the duty of Bar Associations to protect the administration of justice; and so it condemns recent statements made by Prime Ministers Mia Mottley of Barbados and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which, it says, targeted the judiciary of the region.

In making its own declaration, the Association explains that “the statement of the OECS Bar is wholly adopted with emphasis on the importance of the independence of the judiciary and presumption of innocence.”

During a recent symposium in Trinidad & Tobago, both Mottley and Gonsalves criticized judges for granting bail to persons accused of murder, and Gonsalves said that “too many” judges and magistrates were being “too soft” on crime.

President of the Bar Association Cherissa Roberts Thomas says it is essential that all stakeholders play their respective roles in the fight against rising crime throughout the region.  Additionally, she says it must also be recognized that a collaborative approach is essential.

Accordingly, the Association leaves all persons – regardless of profession – to ask, “What part do I play and how can I improve the situation rather than aggravating it?”

In an earlier interview, Roberts Thomas called on the two leaders to retract their statements, which, to date, has not been done.