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    September 22

  • 11:54 AM

EDITORIAL: Country must stand behind CCJ's decision

BEA DOTTIN, beadottin@nationnews.com

Added 02 October 2013

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When the Caribbean Court of Justice hands down its decision in the case Shanique Myrie vs Barbados on Friday it will of critical regional importance. It has implications at the political level and more important, for the CCJ itself. If the case goes against Miss Myrie, we have no doubt those opponents of the court in Jamaica, particularly within the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party and some members of the legal fraternity, will be shouting about why that country should not fully sign on to the CCJ. We must not be misled by detractors but recognize the independence of the CCJ and, more important, the fair and learned decisions it has handed down since its inception less than a decade ago. We do not expect anything less in this decision. Even though still in infancy, the CCJ has already set a proud record with the quality of its judgments at both the original and appellate levels. We have confidence in this court and the quality as well as impartiality of its decisions. Barbadians must stand by its decision in this particular case, whatever the outcome, as they would have had to if it were the Privy Council which has nothing over the CCJ in terms of either the capability of its justices or quality of its decisions. Beyond the political and legal interests in this decision, the outcome of this case will be important to the average citizen in all CARICOM member states. It should indicate what responsibilities CARICOM member governments have to people from other CARICOM states arriving in or passing through their countries. We hope there will be clarity and that immigration lawyers and bureaucrats are not given an opportunity to confuse the public with their interpretations of the law. The fact that neither Jamaica nor Trinidad and Tobago has as yet accepted the CCJ as their final court of appeal must not leave any question over either its strength or necessity. It is pure political masquerading by most who find fault and have deem joining the CCJ as something fraught with danger. It is a weak argument without reasonable basis. As the two CARICOM states to have already celebrated 50 years of political independence – Jamaica along with Trinidad and Tobago – it is about time these two nations recognize the importance of doing the right and decent thing. So, Friday’s decision – regardless of the outcome – should hopefully help in securing the CCJ into a position to be fully adopted as the replacement by all English-speaking Caribbean states for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It is no longer an issue for consideration, but time for action.

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