Editorial: Legal capacity (Need for local law school)

POSTED: 01/8/12 4:48 PM

St. Maarten’s Governor drs Eugene Holiday has used his New Year’s address to amongst other things call for the University of St. Martin to begin offering a law program. He’s not the first person to do it. Former Minister of Constitutional Affairs and advisor on Justice Richard Gibson has very often made the same call. The Bar Association and the firms on the island have also promoted the field and offered opportunities through scholarships. So really while the statement is nothing new, it brings a fresh wind to a lagging discussion.
Ahead of St. Maarten becoming a country there was concern from all quarters that the island does not have the legal capacity to maintain the status of country. We see the evidence of that in the fact that government’s legislative agenda is plodding along at a slow pace and the parliament is hardly equipped to make the amendments to the many laws they are concerned about. What the governor is doing is helping both bodies and the legal system. From his role above it all he’s urging people into a field where this country has an acute need, not just government, but also in the courts, where there continues to be a need for lawyers and judges that understand this country’s specific value system and how that affects the dispensation of punishment.
With the governor’s call in mind now might be the time for the University of St. Martin to sit down with Justice Minister Roland Duncan – who also wants a law school here – and the Bar Association to discuss how this long held need for a local law school can become a reality.

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