CCJ debate to begin October 16
JAMAICA'S SENATE will at last begin the examination of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) bills, with October 16 set as the date for the commencement of a debate which A.J. Nicholson, the leader of government Business in the Senate, said is meant to serve as a milestone "concerning the character of Jamaica's Government for the future".
The Government has shied away from starting the debate on the bill in the face of pronouncements by the Opposition that it would not support their passage.
Notice of the second reading of the bills was given on May 22 following their passage in the House of Representatives one week earlier.
Nicholson said on Friday that the three bills, which propose Jamaica's delinking from the United Kingdom-based Privy Council, represent "the most far-reaching exercise to be undertaken by this honourable Senate since the Independence debate of 1962".
"The members of this honourable Senate are being called upon to perform their most important function, which is seeing to the development and welfare of our people," Nicholson said.
One of the bills is a constitutional amendment measure that requires a two-thirds majority vote to secure its passage. For it to succeed, all 13 government members must vote for the bill and get the support of at least one opposition senator.
"It is clear, therefore, that the power of the eight opposition senators in this historic exercise looms large," Nicholson said.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has been Jamaica's final court of appeal since 1833, and Nicholson said that delinking from the former colonial powers relates to repatriating the third branch of Government the judiciary.
"The main purpose of the exercise is to have rights and privileges bestowed on our citizens, almost all of whom have never been in a position to exercise that right in almost 200 years," Nicholson said.