Injustice! BVI’s night court should return — Moses-Scatliffe
The justice system in the BVI is facing a serious backlog of cases, leaving many residents, especially young persons, without access to the justice they deserve.
This was the position held by Ingrid Moses-Scatliffe, a Territorial At-Large candidate with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), who spoke at a recent Sixth District Town Hall forum.
Moses-Scatliffe said there was urgent need for action to address this issue and also argued that the subject of civics needs to be reintroduced to the local school curriculum so persons can be made aware of their rights.
“We all know that justice delayed is justice denied,” Moses-Scatliffe stated. “It astounds me – and I’m in the legal profession, I see it – that on a daily basis, we have a number of persons coming before the courts. Their matters are being adjourned. They’re being delayed. You have persons on remand for years. Those are major human rights breaches. It is something that has to be fixed now.”
Bring back night court
Moses-Scatliffe pointed out that resources must be at the top of the list in addressing this issue. The court, she said, needs to be properly staffed with magistrates and judges, and an additional criminal high court must be implemented to dispose of the increasing number of cases. She reasoned that this would also help to ensure that individuals receive true justice, and are not caught up in a system that can harm their future prospects.
The former House of Assembly Speaker called for the reimplementation of night court, which was once in place but has since been discontinued. She argued that this would help to alleviate the backlog of cases and ensure that justice is delivered in a timely manner.
”By the time you wait till your matter is heard, the time that you may have spent may actually exceed the penalty for the offence that you have been suspected of committing,” Moses-Scatliffe said. ”So it is something that is dear to my heart because every single day, the breaches that continuously are committed against citizens by the government, it’s heartbreaking because we’re talking about a number of persons but especially a number of young persons coming before the courts. And that is not right.”
”It’s something that we really need to address,” said Moses-Scatliffe. ”I know that the PVIM government would have that at the top of the list so that we can work hand in hand with the Deputy Governor’s Office and the Governor’s Office to ensure that adequate resources are put in place to dispose of because the longer it goes, it’s only a matter of time before the government is going to be held liable and accountable for those breaches. So, we have to deal with it now.”