WE’RE not sure whether we should be wishing Ruth Bowe-Darville congratulations on her new job or happy 65th birthday – but the arrival of both at once has caused a few to raise questions.
First, let us be clear – experienced heads are invaluable and Mrs Bowe- Darville is certainly one of those.
It is the timing of her appointment as the newest Supreme Court justice that is unfortunate – for Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis will immediately have to seek to grant her an extension beyond her retirement age.
Such extensions have been granted before – but usually for people already in post for a considerable time, not – as in this case – when Mrs Bowe-Darville has been appointed just four days earlier.
But are we asking the right questions in querying such an appointment?
After all, Mrs Bowe-Darville has presumably been chosen precisely because of the experience she can bring to bear as a Supreme Court justice. And clearly she is willing to take on the role and isn’t hankering for retirement. Ought we to let paperwork get in the way of such a decision?
In fact, with a seeming shortage of judges showing in the length of time it takes for so many court cases to be heard, are we missing out on the chance to expand the numbers in our judiciary by pushing talented judges out the door when they hit 65?
Might, indeed, we consider lifting the retirement age – for those who want to continue working – to 70 so we might make the most of these experienced heads?
Certainly, many working in such roles have shown commitment and dedication for years – often at the expense of their own pocket when they could have been making much more in private practice, able to charge high prices for their work.
The frustration with Mrs Bowe-Darville’s appointment seems to come more from the red tape involved in appointing someone so close to their retirement age rather than any problem with her fitness for the role herself. So let’s cut the red tape.
There is certainly fair criticism for the Minnis administration – the length of time particularly it has taken to appoint people to roles such as chief justice or confirming the man who had been acting Supreme Court justice for two years.
But the kerfuffle over retirement extensions is one entirely of our own making – if someone is fit and well and able to bring a lifetime of experience, we’d be fools not to want their wisdom.
A strike vote doesn’t need to mean strike action
AT THE time of writing, union officials are busily counting votes to determine whether there is support for a hotel worker strike.
There is strong emotion from workers – not least because they are concerned employers are looking to take away the gratuities that play a large part in supplementing often quite low incomes and at a time when we are told the tourism industry is on the rise.
Should the vote be in favour of action, we would however add that it is important to remember that just because you have a mandate to strike, it doesn’t mean you have to.
We would hope that such a demonstration of feeling can be presented to employers with the goal of talks to move on from the first proposal.
We’ve said before – renewed negotiations would be the likely outcome of any strike anyway, so we hope officials keep the mandate for action in their back pocket. We also hope employers recognise how serious the concerns of workers are. It truly is time to sit down and talk.