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Anthony questions CCJ position


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Anthony questions CCJ position

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Former St Lucia prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says he is baffled at the position outlined by Jamaica after Prime Minister Bruce Golding hinted at the possibility of not having the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court .
Golding has also raised the possibility of establishing its own court to replace the London-based Privy Council.
“It is surprising and bewildering, surprising because it is the very first time that that discussion has entered as far as I can recall – into the equation. The statement by the Prime Minister may have been intended to help the situation to calm anxiety but it has struck a lethal blow,” said Anthony, who played a leading role in the establishment of the CCJ.
“I strongly suspect that other governments who are hesitating in the Eastern Caribbean may want to think twice before they proceed,” he said.
Anthony, who heads the main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), warned that if Jamaica goes ahead and forms its own final court of appeal it could influence other countries that are already hesitant to join the CCJ.
“My concern has to do with the entire integration movement, this constant feeling that you are taking one step forward and two steps back. “We have spent so much time energy and resources in seeking to establish a court and for this to me taking place at this time will certainly dampen the enthusiasm of the court” said Anthony, who was speaking on a local radio programme late Thursday.
Prime Minister Golding told Parliament earlier this week that Jamaica may wish to establish its own final appeal court which would be an option to the CCJ and the Privy Council.
“We wish to consider our own final court of appeal. We would respectfully wish that is something for which due consideration to be given,” Golding told Parliament, adding “it is something we wish to consider in great detail and in earnest. “We believe we have the judicial experience, we believe we have the maturity to do it,” Golding said while closing debate on the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which will replace Chapter III of the present Constitution.
Anthony has also disagreed with a suggestion from AJ Nicholson, the opposition People’s National Party’s (PNP) spokesman on Justice, who recommended that Jamaica makes the CCJ its final appellate court with a provision for local judges to sit on cases from Jamaica.
“This is bound to attack the very integrity of the court and its going to smack of a situation where the government is paying for the quality of justice it gets by appointing two judges on the CCJ. It strikes at the very heart of the argument that has been put forward in Jamaica that you want a court free of manipulation. The potential for manipulation in that formula is even greater” the St Lucian opposition leader said.
The Jamaica Constitution requires a minimum of 40 ‘yes’ votes in the 60-seat House and 14 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate for Jamaica to abolish the Privy Council as its court of final appeal.
The CCJ was established in 2001 by regional governments to replace the Privy Council as the region’s final court. Most of the CARICOM countries are signatories to the court’s original jurisdiction but only Barbados, Guyana and Belize have signed on to the appellate jurisdiction.
The CCJ also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the regional integration grouping.

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