This country’s newest High Court Judge, Canadian-born Richard Floyd, is the latest Court officer here, up to press time Thursday, to highlight the enormous void created in the Justice System with the absence of a Psychiatrist.
Justice Floyd made his feelings known on Wednesday while dealing with the case management aspect of a matter involving a sexual offense in which the Court had ordered a Psychiatric Report.
Justice Floyd stressed the urgent need for a Psychiatrist in this Jurisdiction to carry out the Psychiatric assessment orders of the Court.
“I am told there is none currently in this Jurisdiction, and people are suffering, justice is suffering, but this is not within my jurisdiction.” Floyd said. He told the accused, “We can’t proceed further with your case until an assessment. We can’t do that yet because there is no doctor,” referring to a Psychiatrist.
Justice Brian Cottle, at the closing of the previous sitting of the Criminal Assizes in December, referred to the number of mentally ill persons in prison, many awaiting trial. He acknowledged that it was difficult finding someone with the qualification and the requisite skills to fill the post of Psychiatrist here. He said there were efforts in the past that attracted some persons to the position, but inevitably, they resigned their positions in quick time on coming face-to-face with the enormity of the responsibility.
At the opening of the new law year on January 12, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), Janice Pereira, highlighted the high levels of remand populations in prisons and correctional facilities for lengthy
periods, reflecting a Justice System which is clearly bogged down at virtually every stage of the Criminal process for a variety of reasons, in the main, being inadequate or lack of resources.
Several persons, on charges of murder or other serious offenses are on remand here, awaiting Psychiatric assessments, as ordered by the Court, before their trials could proceed.