THE EDITOR, Sir:
Despite the far-reaching goals of CARICOM, a few states sought to take regional independence a step further and sever the last remaining vestiges of colonialism from their domestic judiciaries, bringing about the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Jamaica was one of 11 countries that signed the agreement establishing the CCCJ on February 4, 2001.
But that’s not all. To make things even more interesting, at the sixth Commonwealth Caribbean Heads of Government held in Jamaica in April 1970, the Jamaican delegation put forward a proposal for the establishment of a regional Court of Appeal. Yes, that is correct; we started the discussion on the establishment of the CCJ. But nearly 48 years down the rugged road of development, we have yet to sign on to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ.
To go even further, Jamaica has contributed millions dollars towards the establishment and operation of the CCJ and currently maintains it. It is time to cash in on our investment.
Our prime minister, Andrew Holness, stated in 2014: “This is an example of how not to use foreign policy. One of our greatest assets is that our final court is an internationally recognised court of arbitration and appeal and we want to tek weh ourselves from it … .”
Given the high cost for filing an appeal with the Privy Council (almost five times more costly) and the variable cost associated with legal fees, for whom is the Privy Council an asset but the very wealthy?
Prime Minister, you bound yourself to your word when you promised that if you were victorious in the general election, you would see to it that a referendum is had on the CCJ. I beseech thee, resurrect them and let us get on with the discussion.
We have been lingering in our own shadow for far too long.