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CCJ ruling will pose problems

BEA DOTTIN, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 14 October 2013

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The Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) ruling on the Shanique Myrie case has confirmed my misgivings that this court is and will be an activist court.  Barbados must now either appeal/challenge this ruling, withdraw from the treaty or withdraw from the jurisdiction of the CCJ and establish its own final court of appeal. We have moved from the tyranny of the Privy Council to that of the CCJ. In joining the CCJ, Barbados has chosen a rod for our backs. In my opinion, it is [wrong] for the justices of the CCJ to instruct Barbados’ immigration officials that they must now either liberally interpret our immigration laws or change them to match those of the 2007 Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas, even though Barbados has not ratified that treaty in our Parliament. In brief, we have ceded our sovereignity to the CCJ. This is a dangerous precedent, for it allows the CCJ’s judges to make rulings in the future that trump our Constitution. In theory, the CCJ can now impose same-sex marriage on Barbados or nullify the death penalty. This ruling by the CCJ will now create headaches for our Police Force and immigration officials in terms of illegal immigration, exploitation of migrant workers, human trafficking, drug trafficking and transnational crimes which our Police Force is not adequately equipped to deal with. As one police officer told me, CSME means criminals scheming and moving easily. I do hope that our immigration officials will, in conjunction with our police officers, still deny entry of people into Barbados in instances where any crimes are suspected, and where applicants cannot demonstrate how they will support themselves while in Barbados. People with undesirable motives must be kept out. Our security in this island must be paramount. Our immigration officials must issue them written refusals to take to the CCJ. Given this ruling, I have considerable doubt whether Trinidad and Tobago or any other territory for that matter will join the CCJ.

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