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    September 24

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Portia confident of support on CCJ

sherieholder, sherieholder@nationnews.com

Added 05 May 2013

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KINGSTON,Jamaica, May 5, CMC - The Portia Simpson Miller led administration is confident that the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will pass the necessary legislation that will make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica's final appellate court. On the weekend , leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Phillip Paulwell made the statement despite a recent proclamation by  the leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP),  Andrew Holness that the JLP remains steadfast in not supporting the legislation as it there are more important issues . The Opposition has called for a referendum on the matter, however the government has refused. “Believe it or not discussions are being held as we proceed, we believe that good sense will prevail and we are hoping that when the Bills get to the Upper House they will be succesful...... I can say to you that I believe that there are members of the Jamaica Labour Party who may have a different position” Paulwell said By law the government needs two thirds majority to pass the CCJ Bills, however the Minister could not say when the CCJ Bills will get to Parliament. Last week the President of the Jamaican Bar Association, Ian Wilkinson QC, called on the country's two major political parties to intensify their discussions about making the CCJ Jamaica's final appellate court, and forego holding a referendum on the matter. “Why should we have a referendum, when the JLP, the second major player in the Parliament says it supports and accepts the CCJ? Of course, I want my people to choose its court, but the two major parties right now who represent the people have agreed that the court should be the final court. Why then should we need a referendum?” argued Wilkinson. He  added that a referendum could become a political tool and thereby fail to fulfil its purpose. “I hope they continue dialogue because a referendum would cost us based on the estimate approximately J$1 billion which Jamaica cannot afford and it would be politicising, whether it is the intention or not of the parties, it would become a political football,” he said. The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council, and also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping. While all member states have signed on to the original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction.    

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