Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Judge Winston Anderson has urged criminal justice reform as several Caribbean countries experience a spike in crime.
Anderson was among individuals who spoke at the recent 7th Biennial Conference of the CCJ Academy for Law.
The theme of the 18-20 October 2023 event was: “Criminal Justice Reform in the Caribbean: Achieving a Modern Criminal Justice System.”
According to a CCJ release, Justice Anderson recounted the justification for the conference by noting that “an alarming epidemic of crime and criminality has engulfed much of the Caribbean.”
The release said the Chairman of the CCJ Academy for Law noted that many citizens feel unsafe in their homes, at work, or in public spaces.
Anderson also observed that at the same time, persons accused of a crime are sometimes deprived of their freedom for 5, 10, 15, or more years, euphemistically referred to as “being on remand,” before a trial.
“These and other features of our criminal justice system are not acceptable,” the CCJ Judge stated.
And he called for reform.
“There must be swift justice for the guilty so that there is a correlation between crime and punishment in the public perception,” Anderson said.
“The innocent must not have their liberty and productive years sacrificed on the altar of inefficiency and disinterest. It is time for all victims of criminal justice to have real justice,” he asserted.
The Barbados event at which Anderson spoke attracted Prime Ministers, Attorneys-General, Ministers of National Security, Heads of Judiciaries, and Judicial officers.
Directors of Public Prosecution, Commissioners of Police, Commissioners of Prisons, criminal defense attorneys, law students, and members of civil society from across the region also attended.