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Myrie ruling ‘good for Caribbean’

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Myrie ruling ‘good for Caribbean’

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The Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) decision in the high profile Shanique Myrie case has implications for the broader freedom of movement regime, says principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Sir Hilary Beckles.
And according to the regional academic, it should encourage all Caribbean countries to make the CCJ their final appellate court.
Sir Hilary made the comments while speaking to the media yesterday following the renaming of the campus’ old administration building which is now known as the Leslie Robinson Building in honour of Cave Hill’s first principal.
“I think most people recognize that this case had implications for who we are as Caribbean people. It had implications for how we treat the Caribbean as a common survival space for all of us and how the citizens of the Caribbean ought to feel when they move from one jurisdiction to another,” he said.
Sir Hilary said in his opinion “the law was seeking to step up, to lay the infrastructure for a greater good, which is that Caribbean citizens have a right to enjoy their Caribbean citizenship and to move from society to society without any sense of fear or intimidation”.
He said the CCJ was “our court” and each country should accept it in both the original and the appellate jurisdictions.
He said the time for the British Privy Council, which remains the final court for several islands, had come to an end and the Caribbean had to dedicate itself to building institutions that would serve it well.
“As Errol Barrow said, we are still loitering on colonial premises . . . . We have to move on and I certainly hope that in short time all of our societies will find a way to take this step in the right direction,” he said.
Sir Hilary stressed that the one Caribbean concept was not a new one.
“Five hundred years ago when the indigenous peoples lived in these islands before the Africans came, before the Europeans came, the native people enjoyed the Caribbean as one home,” he said, noting that they had a system of governance that was based upon freedom of movement.
“We are not creating anything. We are reinventing a system of a common survival space that was in place before the colonial and imperial era so in a sense what we’re doing, we are reconnecting to our fundamental indigenous history in saying the Caribbean is one place,” he said. (NB)