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Female judges outnumber male judges in the Caribbean

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Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Editor: Justice Gertel Thom who served almost a decade in St Vincent and the Grenadines will be replaced by another female judge. It is understood that newly appointed Esco Henry of Montserrat is to take over from Justice Thom, who has been elevated to an Appellate Court Judge and will be based in St Lucia. Despite the disparity between genders in the judiciary, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission have appointed two more female judges, Justice Henry and Pearletta Lanns of St Kitts/Nevis. Lanns served many years as a Master.{{more}}

The two new appointees to the judiciary bring the number of female judges to 12 of the 18 judges in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) – three of the Court of Appeal Judges including the Chief Justice, Dame Janice Pereira, are of the fairer sex. Most of the Registrars and Masters in the ECSC are also women.

Jamaica is also dominated by a large number of female judges, headed by the Chief Justice Zaila Mc Calla and over in the Bahamas, Dame Joan Augusta Sawyer served both as Chief Justice and President of the Court of Appeal of her country. Trinidad and Tobago also has a significant number of female judges, which prompted the formation of an Association of Female Judges. Chief Justice Ivor Archie said that the newly formed Trinidad and Tobago Association of Women Judges (TTAWJ) must be commended for advancing women’s issues, including domestic violence and human trafficking. Archie observed that the TTAWJ is working diligently towards establishing a Caribbean Association of Women Judges to ensure that the rights of women and children were adhered to and equality for all citizens before the law.

The lone female judge in the Caribbean Court of Justice, Desiree Bernard, went into retirement last March and a successor has not yet been named. One wonders if the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission will appoint a woman to replace her. The female lawyers throughout the Caribbean outnumber their male counterparts by 3 three to one and most of them are doing extremely well in their profession.

Oscar Ramjeet

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