No referendum on CCJ
Mon, April 30, 2012 - 8:26 AM
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar has blanked a call from the second biggest partner in her coalition administration for a referendum ahead of Trinidad and Tobago joining the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
In a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister late last night, Persad Bissessar said that as regards the CCJ, “such matters are ideally suited for discussion at the level of the cabinet”.
It said that the announcement that the five-party coalition People’s Partnership government to accept the CCJ as the country's final appellate court in respect of criminal matters has been “hailed as a positive step in the right direction by all and sundry”.
The Prime Minister said that ‘ if however, one of our member parties differs in their view one has to acknowledge this, but it does not automatically alter the government’s position.
“It was never a formal stated policy nor agreed platform of the People’s Partnership that a referendum be held prior to a decision on the CCJ so no issue of departure arises. Indeed, our constitution and laws make no provision for such a measure which would in itself require a constitutional amendment that can facilitate the holding of a referendum”.
“One must understand that as we embark upon the kind of major positive social shift and political change which the People’s Partnership brought with it, there will be intense debate from all quarters, both within and without the government. The discussions taking place across the country today is evidence of the change the country voted for and of a healthy democracy at work,” the Prime Minister said in the statement. (CMC)
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