By Leonard St Hill | Tue, April 17, 2012 - 12:00 AM()
The arrival of the Caribbean Court of Justice for a session of the circuit court in arbitration of an international contention is most welcome.
It dignifies the confidence of the litigants in their integrity as sovereign participants in a regional treaty for resolution of international disputes by a neutral body.
It also reflects favourably the voluntary invitation extended by other countries of the region to international agencies to witness the exercise of fundamental freedom of the individual in the selection process of their legislatures.
On the other hand, in the matter of the supremacy of the nation’s judicature, resort to the CCJ with respect to a sovereign nation’s territorial jurisdiction derogates from the integrity of its Supreme Court, implying a lack of confidence in its ability to interpret that country’s laws to the satisfaction of its citizens.
In defence of prevailing access to Her Majesty’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for the function that would be assumed by the CCJ in civil and criminal jurisdiction, it could be said credibly that the process implicated the Sovereign of the State represented by the Judicial Committee to which there has always been the possibility of appointing members of the Barbados Bar.
It appears therefore that unless the president of the CCJ or chairman of CARICOM has had conferred on him or her the status of Sovereign in the establishment of the Parliament of Barbados, the validity of the CCJ’s jurisdiction in any matter other than international disputes covered by the Treaty of Chaguaramus cannot be supported in contention with the authority of Her Majesty’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council while Her Majesty remains the Sovereign constituent of the Parliament of Barbados.
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