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EDITORIAL: Time region moves on from Privy Council


EDITORIAL: Time region moves on from Privy Council

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THE OUTCOME OF Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union has been more profound that initially realised.

The proponents and voters of the exit plan have sent a clear message by their decision. They are no longer prepared to cede control to any country or organisation outside of Britain. Implicit in this position is a clear message to Caribbean nations, despite any deep historic and cultural ties to the former colonial ruler.

Caribbean states must not consider themselves any different from countries across mainland Europe. The words of politicians Boris Johnson, of the Conservative Party, and Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independent Party, promote nationalist politics that clearly indicate countries in this region should not hold on to their coat-tails.

The Brexit vote clearly serves as a final call for regional political leaders to go their way. This includes the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the British justice system which may have served us well during the years of colonial rule. But the echo in the message from the British political establishment and the majority of its electorate is that we must move on.

We can only hope the message is being heard and understood, particularly in Kingston and Port of Spain. These two influential members of the Caribbean Community, for reasons unclear, have stonewalled and remained belligerent in their positions against having the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their final court in all jurisdictions.

Prime Ministers Andrew Holness of Jamaica and Dr Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago must now address this matter. Yes, there is always the possibility that Holness will deflect taking any position until the outcome of the Golding CARICOM Review Commission which he recently set up to look at the impact of the regional integration movement on his country. Rowley may claim that the prevailing economic pressures his twin-island state faces do not place it on his priority list.

But, the dispensation of justice is fundamental to the development of our societies.

The rumblings across the English-speaking Caribbean about free movement, regional trade imbalances or breaches in human rights indicate why the CCJ is more relevant to the region.

The puerile arguments advanced about the independence of regional jurists or for that matter, their competence, should have by now been put to rest. Jamaicans can attest to the ability of our legal minds given what they have described as the outstanding work of the West Kingston Commission led by eminent Barbadian jurist Sir David Simmons.

Within the next months, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada should have signed on to the CCJ as their final court, joining Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana which have reposedconfidence in the regional court.

The procrastination and lack of confidence exhibited by others within the English-speaking CARICOM nations must come to an end.

We should not wait for Britain to tell us stop loitering on its doorstep.