ST. VINCENT-COURT-Historic court sitting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines


KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC – Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett has apologized to all involved in the historical setting of the Magistrate’s Court on Sunday, saying some of the people present “perhaps should have been resting, some of us perhaps should have been in church, some of us could have been watching that boring test match, West Indies (versus Zimbabwe) scoring at one point something an over.”

The magistrate presided over a relatively “mundane” traffic matter relating to a claim for damages brought by the school teacher, Esther Harry, against Ryan Barbour, a local police officer, who is now studying in Russia and the company, Rent-to-Own, represented by Jorge Da Silva.

The claim follows a vehicular accident in December. 11, 2020 in Arnos Vale, south of here.

The historic Sunday sitting was held with the parties consent after the magistrate had suggested in January that it might be necessary to facilitate the parties involved.

The magistrate had noted on January 12 that the civil matter was before the court, and the parties present were trying to get a date for a hearing.

“One of the parties, Mr. Barbour, is in Russia at this time, and we were having difficulty scheduling the matter to accommodate him,” the magistrate said, adding, “so, I think perhaps I was the one who threw out a possible hearing on a Sunday. And the parties who were present at the time took me up on it and agreed to do the matter on Sunday.”

But the senior magistrate, who said he likes to speak frankly on matters, noted that he knew he was not going to get an employee of a magistrate’s court to be there.

“I know that was not going to happen. So, when I was told on Friday that no court employee was going to come, I said, ‘I didn’t expect any staff member to come. Once I am here, and I have access to the building, we will do the matter.’”

“So, I apologize to the parties who have been inconvenienced, but we are only here by consent,” Burnett said, adding, “access to justice is not a concept we speak about.

“It is a real issue we must address from time to time. I am happy that the parties have made the sacrifice to be here so that we can at least allow Mr. Barbour and Mr. Da SiIva, who are defendants, and, importantly, Ms. Harry, the one who has triggered the legal system, to have this matter disposed of by the court.”

He said, however, that the Sunday court sitting would not happen “every day.

“It might happen once in a lifetime or once in the lifetime of this magistrate. I am not about to set a precedent. This one has to happen today.”

In the end, the court reserved its decision with the parties having come upon a ticklish issue relating to who has liability in the matter in light of the ownership status of one of the vehicles involved in the accident.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here