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June deadline for CCJ consensus

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 23 March 2011


KINGSTON, Jamaica – Prime Minister Bruce Golding says his administration and the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) have set a June 30 deadline for reaching a consensus on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica's final appeal court. Golding, speaking in Parliament yesterday, said discussions would be held with the PNP and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller on a number of outstanding constitutional matters including his ruling Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) position on the CCJ. The two parties have been at odds with regards to the CCJ, with Golding recently sparking a regional controversy when he said that Jamaica could consider having its own final appellate court instead of the CCJ. Golding told legislators he was treated unfairly in the aftermath of his statement. "I didn't state it as any decision, I didn't say that this was opposition (to the CCJ). I made sure … to get hold of the Hansard Record of what I said, and I simply said that it was something that I felt out to be looked at. “I am a little disturbed that the public comments have been made, almost as though it was a position laid down by the government," Golding said, adding that he has already approached the Opposition on the CCJ in a bid to arrive at a common position by the end of June. The PNP has repeatedly declared its intention to press for Jamaica signing on to the CCJ as its final appellate court, even as the ruling JLP maintains its position that the CCJ matter should be put to a referendum. The CCJ was established in 2001 as a replacement for the Privy Council but while most of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to its Original jurisdiction that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, only Barbados, Belize and Guyana are members of the Appellate jurisdiction. (CMC)


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