THE EDITOR: Justice Carol Gobin is very well known to us in Tobago – as she is in Trinidad. She comes regularly to Scarborough to conduct her court. Like most of the other judges, I have appeared before her on a few occasions and I have had the chance to observe her at work.
First was a bouncing down matter in which I was the victim and then recently in a land matter in which I was the defendant.
Although I lost the land case, I was grateful to her for allowing me to lose with dignity. She took the time to explain to me why she decided the case against me and I left the court totally satisfied with how I was treated by her.
I also attend various cases in matters in the civil court as an observer. As a retired public servant, I enjoy doing this and so I have come to know most of the judges very well.
I would say Gobin is one of the most outstanding judges in performing her work. Not only because of the efficient way she disposes of her cases but the noticeable respect that she shows to practitioners and litigants alike.
From my observations, she is one of the most courteous and considerate of judges. Most of all she is fair. And she knows her law – all forms of civil law.
I have often been baffled as to why she has not yet been promoted to the Court of Appeal. I am of the view that Gobin is an asset as a judge in TT.
That is why I was taken aback to hear that she was being assigned to head the Family Court in Tobago. I did not know family law was her career path. Family law is not like long ago where any civil court handled all kinds of law including family law. I understand that now family law has not only its own court system but most of all its own rules.
To ask a judge in the height her career to simply stop in midstream and begin to learn a new set of rules and practices in another court system seems to me to be quite unfair.
She herself has expressed clearly that she has little expertise in that area, compared to the judges in the Family Court who are much more knowledgeable than she is for this position.
Is Gobin being banished to Tobago for disagreeing with her boss? The island’s interest is not being served by placing people here who are coming to learn the job. She may be an experienced judge yes, but from what I know, not in family law. We want experienced Family Court judges as Tobago deserves no less.