Nassau, Bahamas — Eminent attorney Paul Adderley, the longest serving Bahamian Attorney General, has added his voice to those who believe that Prime Minister , The Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham made a mistake in appointing Michael Barnett as the new Chief Justice of The Bahamas.
“It only happens because of the relationship between the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice,” said Adderley. “He shouldn’t have done it.”
Mr. Adderley, who served 16 years as Attorney General, also served as Minister of Education, Foreign Affairs and Finance in the Pindling Administration.
He reiterated that there has never been a question about Sir Michael’s capacity as a lawyer. Her Majesty The Queen (Elizabeth) conferred on Chief Justice Barnett, the award of Knight Bachelor in recognition of his contributions to the judicial system of the Bahamas, Government House announced on Tuesday, October 13.
Continued Mr. Adderley, “So far as I know, I don’t see them going swimming at 6 o’clock in the morning, but I understand it happens. The attitude that each of them had toward the other one, that’s just a little too much for people to have to swallow.”
As to the question of foreign investors and persons with cases against the government before the courts, Mr. Adderley believes when those cases come up, “you (the government) get in trouble”. A direct result of Sir Michael’s former job as Attorney General, and advisor to the Cabinet of The Bahamas. According to Mr. Adderley, “there are a lot of people with a lot of money, who have concerns in their mind about whether they will get a fair trial.”
“That’s the difficulty that wouldn’t happen except with such a close relationship,” says the noted attorney. “But anybody, and there is bound to be one person who is dissatisfied- even if the judge does everything right. You’d say it shouldn’t happen, that’s a new reason why. If it happens before you’d say the judge was just bad, but now you have this thing interspersed with the relationship.”
Since Sir Michael is a relatively young man at age 55, and should be in the post for some time, Mr. Adderley believes he (Chief Justice Barnett) needs “a couple of good cases which come out right, where nobody complains about it, and says it may not be so bad after all,” for the questions about his impartiality or lack of it is put to rest.