Magistrate not renewed

| 25/08/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news(CNS): Caymanian Magistrate Grace Donalds, who has served the Summary Court for over a quarter of a century, has not had her contract renewed. Despite the increased work load at the summary courts, the magistrate, who had wished to continue on, was told Tuesday that her contract would not be renewed. Sources confirmed to CNS that Donalds was not given a reason why her services were no longer required. The magistrate’s contract expires on 31 August and with no notice of her departure from the courts she leaves behind a number of part-heard cases in the country’s busy lower court. Donalds was a Deputy Clerk of Courts from 1988 until 1993, when she began serving as a magistrate.

Donalds, who is over 60 years old, had opted to continue on past retirement as the law provides for all civil servants to continue on contracts until they are sixty-five. Sources close to Donalds say the magistrate is surprised and disappointed at the news as she had hoped to serve for at least one more two year contract.
No complaints have reportedly been made about the magistrate’s decisions recently and a source revealed that in hermore than twenty-five years of service only one complaint was ever raised about a ruling she had made in the courts.
CNS contacted Donalds for comment, but although she confirmed that she had been unexpectedly told her contract would not be renewed, she said she did not wish to discuss the matter further.
With the creation of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, as provided for under the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, all future judicial appointments, including magistrates, will be made by the members of this new oversight body.
It is understood that the newly appointed commission will be meeting on 30 August when they will now be addressing two key vacancies in the already overloaded court system.
The panel will also be overseeing the recruitment of a full time Grand Court judge to replace the former Justice Priya Levers, who was recently removed from the Grand Court bench by the Privy Council in London.
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  1. anonymous says:

    Remember upright and respect does not apply or fit in with this recently elected regime!

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop  the yak – yak- kayakking about the woman, the Govt and stop wondering, and let her ears rest.  You all like to much gossip, and love to provoke.  She is  a great woman, and better things are a head for her. Stop the pitying. It only now she can be of use to us.  Sitting on the bench all day – sure must been hell for her some times.  

      Judge Donalds! thank God you reached retirement.  God Bless you and your family.  ———You are Wonderfully Blessed.

    • Anonymous says:

      For God’s sake this has nothing to do with the Government. This is the JUDICIARY and the head recommends renewal  i.e. the chief justice or the Governor. I do believe this Governor is so reasonable that courtesy is his forte and in addition he would be guided.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Could it be that Magistrate Donalds has passed our Government’s mandatory age of retirement?

    • Anonymous says:

      All Good Things has been said of Judge Donalds – what a legacy to not only her, but to her family. I’ve never fallen in the hands of a judge, but has observed her kind, polite attitude toward her duty.

      Great woman indeed!!! Great example to leave behind!!  May God Bless you as you enjoy the rest of your life.


      The person that said the Judge Donalds kicked h/her as**– once but they have  learnt from their mistakes is exactly how it should be.  You don’t put a nail in a wound, especially when you dealing with hurting people/wives.  Did Levers hated  women? 


    • Anonymous says:

      So have a number of other government cronies but they continue to work – I know, lets not renew their contracts either – save the public some money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you read the article above before posting this comment? Nah, didnt think so.

  3. expression of opinion says:

    Magistrate Donalds is a very efficient and wonderful person and I am sure she will be missed   on the Bench. She is not aloft from the society in which she worked. She is an essential member of the Caymanian Society. She still find time to give a hello to even the humblest member of the community in the highways and shopping areas of The Islands. May her talents still be available to assist in some areas of public life of the Islands.May God bless her with health and long life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    After over 25 years of service, this is not how you handle a faithful employee irregardless of your position. Proper notice of the non-renewal of a person’s contract is the only decent thing one should expect, and I am sure her contract would have made provision for adequate notice. Now, by this action, we have put a very decent, well-respected woman in the spotlight and I wonder is she expected to work until the 31st August? Appearing on the bench to do what? Adjourn matters?

    One would think, the better announcement on CNS should have been from the Court’s office thanking Magistrate Donalds for her long service and wishing her all the best int he future followed by a cocktail function for attorneys and court employees recognizing her service to the Government.

    Your Honor, all the best in the future.

    • Florence Goring-Nozza says:

      I would have hoped that the governor’s office would have enough regard for the people of the Cayman Islands to at least show more respect, stand in front of the press and answers some questions.

      I am sure that the governors office or the Chief Justice will act in the interest of the people at least, and do a formal press release stating the real reason why this very fine lady, Magistrate Mrs.Grace Donalds is being removed from the bench  by non-renewal of her contract?  That’s a bit too blunt for the community to accept. You’re not playing with a full deck here.

      As an advocate for the fair treatment of all human beings,  In my opinion Mrs. Grace Donalds has served the community as one seasoned with much wisdom and one of the fairest magistrates ever..  I consider a mere announcement to the public that her contract will not be renewed an insult and a dis-service to the Magistrate herself and to people of the Cayman Islands.This is not the manner in which we treat respectable citizens in our society, and more over women of Mrs. Grace Donalds caliber. Even if she is up in age and facing retirement, this does not license anyone to push her around because she’s a woman. We are left to make assumptions since government is not coming forward with a comprehensive reason for the non-renewal of Magistrate  Mrs. Grace Donald’s contract. This is unacceptable, and  we demand a better explanation.  

      It seems that the higher level moral one maintains in this recent regime, the harder it is to survive. Mr.Dugay, and Now Mrs. Donalds.  Two of the finest people that ever resided in the Cayman Islands, something is very wrong!

      • Anonymous says:

        Well said!

        What also further enhances her dignity and character is the fact that when asked, she said ‘No comment’.

        This lady should be honoured with all due respect.

        Sad we cannot call a majority of the men in government, ‘Gentlemen’!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Not one negative comment!!i wonder whose judgement was exercised not to renew this lady’s contract? Even if contractualy not required surely  common decency demands a decent notice period. Where are you advocates of fairness and human rights.  Talk about the temple of Justicej

  6. Anonymous says:

    A   true lady  who deserved to be treated with the respect .A trend is setting in and this is  definitely NOT the Caymanian way. Oh!!! if only one could speak out and the powers that be would listen all these inexplicably sudden events can be explained.  I guess we are left with what we deserve. The King speaks and the subjects MUSTlistent

    • Anonymous says:

      "Not the Caymanian way". At one time (30 years ago),  – the days of Caymanian gentlemen and ladies  – we knew what that meant. It was wonderful. The Caymanian way now is snarling Ezzard anti-expat/Roy Bodden blame the Caymanian whites or white elite or Limey Jack Rose for our colonial status/our crimes are being committed by non Caymanians etc etc.

      Terribly sad. To the naysayers out there who post ghastly things about Cayman today, I suggest it is not as bad as your viciousness suggests but I do realise it is not what many of us are privileged to have experienced before the rot set in.

      • noname says:

        Stop lying on Roy and Ezzard.

        Ezzard has a right to support his people first before anyone else. Where did you get the idea that x-pats are first, Oh, Big Mac Told you that yeah!

        Mr. Roy Bodden is telling the truth and it hurts!

  7. UDPAreKillingUs! says:

    CNS:- Who are the members of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, as provided for under the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, responsible for all future judicial appointments, including magistrates?

    CNS: Legal heavyweights to sit on judicial committee (There’s a search function on the right hand side column)

  8. Big Bear says:

    She kicked my a** when i was a kid by slapping a nice speeding fine on me and telling me ‘young man you need to slow down’.  don’t think I’ve had a speeding ticket since.

    Just goes to show the positive affect the right people can have on those going through the courts.  Its not all negative.



  9. anonymous says:

    I am curious!  What are the ages of the other Judges on the bench?  Are they all men? Is this some form of discrimination at work here again? This lady is a very respectable lady in our community, what are their greaviances this time? Is it because she is Caymanian? Did she said "Hi" to Hudge Leavers?  Things that makes you go Hmmmmmmm.

  10. Anonymous says:

    GOD’S blessings on you Mrs. Donalds. Enjoy your retirement for a while – who knows, it may add some years to your life. Some people don’t get a chance to even enjoy a day before they are taken from this earth.

    Hope Govt. is fair and check on all those others who are way beyond their retirement years and some for whom new posts are being created and hardly need the salary, remember many students are coming out looking for jobs now – so give some of them a chance!!

  11. Me says:

    Magistrate Donalds is very respected and liked in Cayman.  She has done an amazing job and I will be sad to see her go. 

    But remember folks, she is approaching the end of her career.  I don’t support ageism but there is an expectation that when one reaches a certain age, one must retire.  I would have thought this process would have been more of a retirement than a mere non-renewal of contract as this seems so cold, informal and disrespectful of the time and effort Grace Donalds has put into her role in Cayman.

    I can think of several boards where she would make an amazing impact. 

    I also think that the current Clerk of the Court deserves to be made a Magistrate, although it is my understanding that this person is leaving Cayman.  This will be another sad departure, if it is true.

    • Dirk says:

      Thank you for your reasonable response, I wholeheartedly agree.

      Magistrate Donalds has passed retirement age, and I am assuming based on the fact that she expected "another" 2 year-contract that she is now 62 and would therefore only be eligible to work for another 3 years maximum. While I believe this was a poorly executed decision administratively and too abrupt for all involved, the cries of corruption and "banana republic" are most likely unwarranted. Granted, I am not privy to all of the inside information, but we shouldn’t make baseless assumptions.

      It would have been better to recruit a new magistrate prior to the departure of Magistrate Donalds, to have this transition clear to all parties involved and to allow Magistrate Donalds to complete all pending cases and be "phased" into retirement with clear reasoning. However, bringing a new magistrate in to replace a pending (final) retirement is not "[keeping] strong, smart and intelligent women down in this country" as Ms. Horek has so emotionally claimed below. It is planning for the future and anticipating the inevitable.

      • Kerry Horek says:

        @ Dirk, (if that is your name) 

        Spoken like a man no doubt!!!

        Thanks for the ‘big up’.

        But what we have forgotten is that in this country women are always treated unfairly to men in similar positions and it has to do with the fact that we are the stronger sex, and our mail counterparts feel intimidated by us.  It’s always an issue all over this country.

        I feel that she should be treated with dignity and respect and given an additional 2-3 years to her contract. 

        Then the rest of us out here will be alright with that.

        I am Kerry Horek, and I am proud to sign my name to my comments on this blog.

        • Jenna Jameson says:

          Dear Kerry Horek,

          If you’re going to pretend to be feminist, at least learn how to spell male right.

          That is all.

          I am Jenna Jameson and I am proud to sign my name to comments on this NEWS ARTICLE.

          • Kerry Horek says:

            Well thank goodness another one has removed the ‘veil’.  Good for you Jenna Jameson, happy you are proud of who you are and your name and your comments to do so.

            Mail or Male, I’ll tell you like an ex judge of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands once said in a trial back in 1999 ‘black, white, what’s the difference in the colour?’  So I suppose I will take a pass on that one spelling error there dahlin.

            Hope more will come out from behind their ‘Annoymous’ and stop being afraid to stand up and be heard.

            I am not a feminist as some of you have accused me previously, I am a ‘realist’ and there’s a major difference.  In addition I speak it how I see it or how I experienced it. 

            But then again, not everyone in this country has the opportunity to live in protected ‘ivory towers’.


        • Dirk says:

          Dirk is my CNS moniker, and I am not a man. For reasons that I need not expound upon I am unable to sign my name to the vast majority of comments on this news website (please, everyone, this is not a blog) while maintaining my livelihood. I envy your ability to do so. And you’re welcome for the "big up," I tend to respond when I think people are making baseless assumptions or form their opinions based on inaccurate "facts." Unfortunately, I feel that politics and public opinion in this country is often based upon irrationality. Before you cry "Caymanian hating expat!", I am Caymanian. I love my country and believe that patriotism inherently demands that I criticise my Government and countrymen where I feel it is warranted.

          I disagree with your opinion that women are always treated unfairly in this country. But that doesn’t mean I am naive enough to believe there is no gender discrimination or that I am anti-feminist. In my humble opinion claiming that our male counterparts feel intimidated by us because we are the stronger sex and therefore keep us down is not the most effective way to advance the cause for gender equality.

          Feminism comes in many forms and I personally tend toward the more reasoned camp and reject unbridled, militant feminism as actually being counter-productive. Asking for equality then saying we’re better seems a bit strange, don’t you think? Cries of gender discrimination when there is no evidence that there was any can further opinions that feminists are often irrational and may in fact hurt cases where such discrimination does occur. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is an excellent allegory for such instances. Targeted and reasoned efforts against gender discrimination are what will ultimately lead to the culture change where it is a given that men and women should be treated equally.

          But back to the topic at hand… I agree that Magistrate Donalds should have been treated with more respect. As I noted in my previous post, this decision was poorly executed. However, there is no evidence of gender (or other) discrimination in not renewing her contract and crying foul is therefore unwarranted in my opinion. I prefer Occam’s razor – Magistrate Donalds has passed retirement age and her contract was not renewed to allow for a new magistrate to be recruited.

      • Florence Goring-Nozza says:

        I beg to differ with your comment. The age of 62 in yester year may have warrant retirement but then again it does not. At this time in the History of the Cayman Islands and our troubled society, we need the best legal mindsin our justice system.

        The Cayman Islands has suffered enough because of uneducated and unqualified leadership sharing the steering wheel all in the name of democracy still not fully defined in the Cayman Islands. The sad part about it all is that some of them now share decision making with the good governor, in matters concerning the judiciary, how sad.

        It is now time for all legal pundits to canvass for the review of the mandatory retirement age for judges to enable the judiciary benefit from the knowledge of the jurists, who are versed in the law.. One leading example is All India Law Congress organized at Punjab University campus reported that their new proposal of enhancement of retirement age of high court judges is from age 62 to 65 and it is under active consideration. Why can’t the Cayman Islands Judiciary do the same, if it means keeping the best of the best on the bench?.
        The daily exercise of wisdom, knowledge, skill and expertise that graces a jurists like Mrs. Grace Donald and her many years of experience, is a credit to solving the problems associated with delay or inaccuracies on justice delivery. It is reasonable to expect that a vacant position should be filled at the magistrate level with jurists that can sit on the bench not only to age 62 years but to even up to age 65 or more.

    • Anonymous says:

      More than what we can say about the previous decision of Judge Levers,  Judge Donalds very respected in the community, very good judge, woman of great character.  Hate to see her go.  Enjoy your retirement – and thank God you reached to retirement given the hight and types of crime we are experience on the island. Enjoy the rest of life in peace. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Truly, there is a time to move on, and we must remember that there are others of equal potential waiting to take there rightful places. Magistrate Donalds, you have done your best, and the country holds you in the highest esteem. But you still have work to do!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I thought if you worked for Government you had to request a contract renewal no less than six months prior to its expiration and that the Government had to respond in a certain amount of time to that request. From this it does not appear so as she has just been told on August 24th, 2010 that a contract that is expiring on August 31st, 2010 is not being renewed. As usual the Cayman Islands Government just does what they want with you – chew you up and spit you out when you have served THEIR PURPOSES.

  13. Kerry Horek says:

    Not another Lady Judge getting the boot!!!

    Judge Donalds is a very good Judge, why on God’s green earth would we get rid of her??

    Proves my theory yet again, that we are in a Man’s World in this country, and those in power making such decisions are doing so to keep strong, smart and intelligent women down in this country.  Thankfully, God ain’t sleeping on these matters.



    • Anonymous says:

      Grace Donalds is a good woman and a good judge. The comment about a "a mans world" doesnt apply here though. All the magistrates are women and so is the chief magistrate.

      I strongly beleive more accountability needs to be brought to bear in our courts.  The only official record of testimony in Summary Court is what the magistrate may or may not include in her summary of the case. 

      This is a very danagerous situiation and a serious threat to justice.

      As we see time and time again, humans are subject to bias and prejudice, they make mistakes and magistrates and judges are not immune.


  14. Anonymous says:

    When one door closes another door opens. Perhaps GD would like to sit on one of our government Boards. It seems any Board, particularly ones that deal with law, would greatly benefit from having someone with this kind of track record / expertise. 

  15. Twyla Vargas says:

    I am saddned to hear Magistate Donalds will be leaving the Bench.  She will be missed, especially for her firm  caring and understanding attitudes.

    Ms Donalds is so special in so many ways, which allowed her to be able to see the good, bad, an ugly of everyone who came before her and had the ability and knowlege to work with them in a firm and caring atitude.

    In a few words, I would say, "People love Grace Donalds"  Whether on the Bench or anywhere else, Ms. Donalds always showed respected with her kind and encouraging words to all, and will be missed.

    One of the most amazing things about Magistrate Donalds is that she had the capebility to sentence someone and they went away feeling that Jusice had been served.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Not being funny or sarcastic here – what is the role of the magistrate?

  17. A Concerned Young Caymanian Father says:

    This is very sad to hear. She was one of the best magistrates this country has ever had.

    • Anonymous says:

      A upright and good woman that has earned alot of respect in this Community.

    • TennisAce says:

       So true Ms. Donalds was a really nice woman. Easy to talk to and she did not let convicts feel as if they were less than dirt.  Perhaps that is why her contract was not renewed.  Not tough enough. 

    • Joe Bananas says:

      In a Banana republic the best are the first to go.  They got rid of her with a snap of the fingers.  XXXXX  This is Cayman now.  All the good guys working for the Government better get their pensions  and get out while the gettings good (and there’s still money in there) or change sides quick.