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CCJ President for Emancipation Lecture

Published:Saturday | July 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Sir Dennis Byron will deliver the 2016 Churches Emancipation Lecture.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will be held on Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. at the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston under the theme 'Emancipation and Justice Reform'.

In an interview with JIS News, long-standing member of the Emancipation Lecture organising committee, Professor Hopeton Dunn, explained the choice of speaker for the lecture, which is in its 23rd year. "Sir Dennis Byron is one of the region's most eminent jurists and someone who is able to provide insight into the question of justice for people in the Caribbean in the context of Emancipation," he said.

REGIONAL CONTEXT TO BREXIT

The presentation will provide a regional context to the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, as well as an update on regional progress in adoption of the CCJ.

Dunn also provided some background on the genesis and history of the Churches Emancipation Lecture. "The lecture is meant to give the public exposure to some in-depth analysis about the impact of slavery and emancipation on the Jamaican and Caribbean people, and it comes as part of the 'Emancipendence' celebrations every year," he said.

Dunn explained that after the removal of Emancipation Day as a holiday from the national calendar in 1962, several theologians, including the Reverend Oliver Daley and the Reverend Burchell Taylor, used the lecture to advocate for the restoration of the day as a public holiday and a period of serious national reflection.

"When that goal was attained, the committee that had been formed for the purpose moved to keeping the annual lecture going in order to continue to remind members of the Jamaican population and the Caribbean region about emancipation," he said.

Byron has been president of the CCJ for almost five years. He was sworn in as the court's second president in September 2011. He is a former chief justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

The event is organised by a special ecumenical committee with representatives from the founding churches - Webster Memorial United, Bethel Baptist, Boulevard Baptist, Hope United, Meadowbrook United, and the United Theological College of the West Indies.

- JIS