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Privy Council subservience shameful

Published:Saturday | November 22, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Privy Council subservience shameful


Before I start, let me first declare my allegiance to common sense. I am a Caribbean man and have no political bias. If anything, I am content to be a floating voter when it comes to politics.

It was disappointing to read recent utterances ascribed to the Jamaica Labour Party leadership concerning CARICOM and Jamaica's perceived relationship with some other Caribbean nations. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was also criticised on the basis that the Privy Council is free and proven (albeit that it is situated in Europe).

It is a fact that within Jamaica's written Constitution, after Independence, the recourse to petition the Privy Council was only intended to be a 'transitional measure'. We have now been independent for more than 50 years, yet we are being asked to believe it is still too soon to cut the apron strings with the Privy Council because the whole Caribbean legal establishment is insufficiently mature or developed as intellectual and honest human beings to act as final jurist in or own affairs.

As someone in the legal profession practising law between Kingston and London, the international implications are embarrassing, to say the least.

The simple fact is that instating the CCJ now makes sense. It is pure ideology of contrary stance to suggest otherwise. The UK Judicial Privy Council is foremost there for Britain's dependent territories. Freeness is an undignified justification for independent Caribbean nations to avoid opportunities to develop their own jurisprudence across the Caribbean.

This allegation of islands treating Jamaica differently needs to be tested, moderated and compared on a case-by-case basis. In point, the UK has visa restrictions for Jamaica, but yet not all Caribbean nations are subject to the same visa requirements.

It is destructive to simply run with negative theories, for the simple truth is that the geographical island on which your foreparents may have landed by slave ships does not change DNA, so we are in fact all the same people cultured in slightly different ways. This you could find in any given family, let alone various districts, parishes or nations.

Caribbean nationality is imperialist political science and history. Therefore, as people of the Caribbean, our politicians should not inadvertently lead us apart.

We can do better. If CARICOM is not perfect, we must work from the inside to improve it.


Pine View, Red Hills