On Monday February 27c1, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, the Anguilla Circuit held a special sitting which members of the Judiciary and the Bar Association were in attendance. Presiding over this special sitting was Hon. Justice Cheryl Mathurin who made a few opening remarks on the theme: Celebrating the Past; Embracing the Future. The feature address was delivered by the Hon. Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, DBE.
In his remarks at the sitting, the Attorney General, Mr. John McKendrick, said that: “The festive anniversary of our court is without doubt a very substantial milestone, and provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of that anniversary and on the role of courts in our society and, above all, the importance of justice.” He continued, “it is important we give thanks to all judges, registrars and all staff who work in the court of the Eastern Caribbean jurisdiction,” and observed that, “courts are the guardians of the rule of law and they embody the fairness and justice we want to see in our societies – and we are fortunate that this court embodies the values we want to see in Anguilla and across the Eastern Caribbean.”

Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, DBE

The Attorney General continued: “All of us involved in the administration of justice must therefore give thanks to the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and, as we celebrate 50 years, we can embrace the future with confidence in the knowledge that the values we wish to protect – fairness, justice, compassion, strength and equality – are protected going forward, because underpinning our society is our court [with] its substantial track record of success.”
Speaking on behalf of the Anguilla Bar Association, Ms Merline Barrett remarked: “Given the court continues to function, is a testament towards the tremendous strength and resilience of the judges and the members of staff.”

Judicial, Government officals and others

She noted, “to be 50 years old is a tremendous achievement and one which this court should no doubt be proud. Furthermore, “the court has a long way to go, but this in no way should diminish what it has accomplished. And so as we look ahead to another 50 years, we [the Anguilla Bar Association] pledge our support to play our part to improve the quality of justice in Anguilla – and also to ensuring that access to justice is both timely and cost effective.”

In keeping with the theme, Celebrating the Past; Embracing the Future, Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, DBE, of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, reflected on the progress of the court, over the past 50 years – its challenges and successes. She said, “delays in our court system are a multifaceted problem which requires a committed multifaceted approach to its solution. Progress is being made in other states, and it is hoped with the addition of judges, the increasing use of technology, that this problem will be a thing of the past.”

Attorney General John McKendrick delivering address

Towards embracing the future of the court, Chief Justice Pereira urged all governments to fully support efforts towards achieving an e-judiciary as the court strives to continuously improve the quality of justice to our people. She remarked: “I cannot stress enough how important technology is, and will continue to be, to the workings of the court. Although our law and legal system is deeply steeped in tradition, one cannot deny that in order to dispense justice in a modern world, the court itself must be modernized.” She noted: “The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, as an institution, has continued to be a shining example for courts all over the world. We must do all in our power to maintain and, if

L-R: Ms. Pam Webster, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers and Chief Minister Victor Banks

Other persons who addressed the court included lawyers Mrs. Josephine Gumbs-Connor, Mr. Kenneth Porter and Mr. D. Michael Bourne. They all extended their congratulations to court on reaching such milestone.