His Excellency Governor Nigel Dakin has accepted the Judicial Service Commission’s (JSC) recommendation to extend Her Ladyship, Chief Justice Mabel Agyemang’s contract until March 2026.
Given the Chief Justice’s zeal and efforts to improve the Turks and Caicos Islands’ judicial system, the Governor expressed his delight at accepting the JSC’s recommendation.
According to Governor Dakin the “very low-key and very effective Chief Justice” arrived in the TCI in March 2020, when the COVID pandemic begun without family to assume a position of national significance.
Dakin recalled that the TCI needed a “reformer” in its next Chief Justice, and stated that Her Ladyship has undoubtedly been that, pioneering the delivery of virtual trials during the pandemic.
He recounted her successes: “A mediation centre and associated rules have been established.
There is now a restorative justice programme, and a new judicial and legal education institute has been established, and civil procedure rules will help modernise the courts.
“Wider access to legal aid is now available and a lawyer is provided to visit a prisoner in police custody. A panel and process, to recommend Kings Counsel, is now in place.”
He stated that Her Ladyship has taken over responsibility for Justices of the Peace to create a regulated environment for their quasi-judicial work and has championed legislation that clarifies the Chief Justice’s responsibilities.
In addition, the Chief Justice signed a contract last week to provide electronic filing, and the Chief Justice’s website offers new resources, including practice directions.
She also serves as the monthly chair of the criminal justice stakeholder group, which brings together all those in leadership positions in the justice sector to find solutions to common problems.
The Governor reflected, “And of course, after the death of Judge Paul Harrison, her Ladyship also chose to take on the most complex trial in TCIs history related to the SIPT investigation.”
Story by Delana Isles | First published by Turks and Caicos Weekly News