PM pushing CCJ
PRIME MINISTER Freundel Stuart has given the thumbs down to the idea of any English- speaking Caribbean country launching its own final court of appeal.
Stuart was speaking outside of The Lodge School after the nomination of his party’s candidate Mara Thompson to contest the St John by-election.
In recent days a number of English- speaking Caribbean countries reacted with dismay that the Bruce Golding government of Jamaica was thinking of going its way in establishing its own final court.
Stuart told the Daily Nation that Jamaica was quite in order to do what it wanted to do. But he did not subscribe to the view that any independent country in the English-speaking Caribbean should be contemplating the establishment of its own final court of appeal “when we’ve got as far as establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice”.
The Prime Minister said the CCJ, situated in Trinidad and supported by Barbados, Belize and Guyana, had “up to now has been producing a very high quality of jurisprudence and has insulated itself from allegations of partisan political infiltration or interference”.
Stuart said: “The prime minister of Jamaica of course has a right to express his opinion as to what he thinks are in the best interests of the people of Jamaica, but so far as we are concerned in Barbados we are committed to the Caribean Court of Justice.”
He said as Prime Minister of Barbados he would be pushing the case for every English-speaking country to be part of the CCJ.
“In every regional council in which I have an opportunity to speak I will be pushing the case for adoption by all countries in the English-speaking countries in the Caribbean of the Caribbean Court of Justice both in its original jurisdiction and its appellate jurisdiction.”
Golding was quoted as saying that his Government was not yet satisfied that in dispensing with the Privy Council “we must take out a final court which is an external entity over which we do not have control as a state to replace it with something else whose existence and continued existence is not even within our gift”.
Golding said Jamaica had the judicial experience and maturity to consider establishing a final court of appeal in Jamaica.
The Opposition in Jamaica, however, has made it clear that it prefers the CCJ as the country’s final court of appeal.
The CCJ, the regional judicial tribunal established nine years ago, was designed to be the final appellate court for member states of the Caribbean Community.
While Jamaica is a signatory to the establishment of the CCJ, the country has yet to utilise it in its appellate jurisdiction, as cases from the island are still referred to the Privy Council.