Ja­maicans not en­gaged in se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions on CCJ, says Gold­ing

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

(Ja­maica Ob­server) Re­gional Heads of Govern­ment who have not yet given the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice (CCJ) the green light will be in deep con­tem­pla­tion, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Bruce Gold­ing is sug­gest­ing, af­ter both Gre­nada and An­tigua and Bar­buda, by way of a ref­er­en­dum, voted to re­tain the Lon­don-based Privy Coun­cil as their fi­nal court.

On Tues­day, of the 21, 979 votes cast in Gre­nada, 9,846 ci­ti­zens voted to adopt the CCJ as the fi­nal Court of Ap­peal, while in An­tigua and Bar­buda there were 9,234 votes against and 8,509 votes in favour of the adop­tion of the CCJ.

On Wed­nes­day, Gold­ing told the Ja­maica Ob­server that Gov­ern­ments will have to think long and hard, given the fact that a ref­er­en­dum is not manda­tory in sev­eral Caribbean Com­mu­nity (Cari­com) mem­ber states to make the de­ci­sion.

“In the case of Gre­nada an er­ror was made in the pre­vi­ous ref­er­en­dum when they tied it to sev­eral other mea­sures — the same thing that St Vin­cent [and the Gre­nadines] had done be­fore. But I had thought that now that now that they had taken it out and put it as a sin­gle is­sue that the re­sults might have been dif­fer­ent.

“I think it’s go­ing to cause Caribbean lead­ers [of] those coun­tries that have not yet signed on to the fi­nal ju­ris­dic­tion of

the CCJ se­ri­ous con­tem­pla­tion. [This is] par­tic­u­larly be­cause in some of the coun­tries, as is the case with Gre­nada and An­tigua, a ref­er­en­dum is an ab­so­lute re­quire­ment. It’s not the case in Ja­maica al­though the prime min­is­ter has said that he feels that the is­sue is so piv­otal and so fun­da­men­tal to our sys­tem of Govern­ment that he would not be pre­pared to pro­ceed un­less the peo­ple sup­port it in a ref­er­en­dum,” said Gold­ing, who was guest lec­turer at the Ar­denne High School Dis­tin­guished 6th Form Lec­ture.

Al­most 50 years ago dis­cus­sions be­gan to es­tab­lish a re­gional fi­nal court and in essence do away with the Privy Coun­cil— the court of fi­nal ap­peal for the United King­dom over­seas ter­ri­to­ries and Crown de­pen­den­cies, and for those Com­mon­wealth coun­tries that have re­tained the ap­peal to Her Majesty in Coun­cil or, in the case of Republics, to the Ju­di­cial Com­mit­tee.

The CCJ as the re­gion’s fi­nal court seeks to set­tle dis­putes be­tween Cari­com mem­ber states, and cur­rently serves as the high­est court of ap­peals on civil and crim­i­nal mat­ters for the na­tional courts of Bar­ba­dos, Belize and Guyana.

The move, those in favour of the CCJ ar­gued, would be a fur­ther step to­wards the re­gional in­te­gra­tion of Cari­com mem­ber states: An­tigua and Bar­buda, Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos, Belize, Do­minica, Gre­nada, Guyana, Haiti, Ja­maica, Montser­rat, St Kitts and Ne­vis, St Lu­cia, St Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines, Suri­name and Trinidad and Tobago.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Gary Grif­fith (right)

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