Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 18, 2021 (SKNIS): The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Judicial Officers Pensions) Bill, 2021, a Bill to provide for pensions and gratuities payable in respect of the service of judicial officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and for related matters, was successfully passed in the National Assembly on Thursday, February 18.
“Overall, this Bill seeks to provide a single seamless code for determining entitlement and computation of pension for judicial officers while also building equity and fairness into the process which would enhance the attractiveness for recruiting suitable persons to the Bench even at later ages than is the current position which detracts many persons who may wish to serve at a later age from being interested in doing so,” said Mover of the Bill, the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Vincent Byron Jr.
Attorney-General Byron said the Bill doesn’t arouse argument or conflict and wished it safe passage.
“Mr. Speaker, this Bill seems very uncontentious and I would say that we have the full support of the Honourable House and will hope that we can continue to attract judges at the highest calibre to sit on the Bench and to be able to provide justice for the people not only of St. Kitts and Nevis but the other members of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court area or the jurisdictions from Grenada all the way up to the British Virgin Islands,” said Minister Byron.
The attorney-general said that good governance is important in the public sector and is at the heart of any successful business or organization.
“The High Court, the Court of Appeal are critical limbs of our governance system. We cannot afford to not have good governance in our country, we cannot do without having impartial judges of high calibre sit and adjudicate matters between our people,” he said. “And so, this Bill helps to improve upon the current arrangements in relation to judges pensions and we wish it safe passage in this Honourable House.”
Some of the highlights of the new Pensions Bill include but are not limited to provision for an early retirement age if this is ever incorporated in the Supreme Court Order, provision for a Master to be paid a Pension under the new Bill and pensionable emoluments to include salary, as well as housing and a utility allowance.