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Holness objection to CCJ a smokescreen

Published:Monday | January 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File Andrew Holness, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, has been a major critic of the CCJ, arguing that a referendum should dictate Jamaica's decision on a court of last resort.


I cannot find words to adequately express my disappointment at the oppo-sition leader's position on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Someone please explain to me and the rest of the Caribbean how a relatively young man, who has been fully educated right here in the Caribbean by Caribbean scholars, within institutions developed and run by Caribbean people, could conclude that he does not believe that the CCJ is good enough to be the region's final appellate court.

Mr Holness' statement that he wants to see the United Kingdom Privy Council continue as Jamaica's final court because it's good for foreign investment is a smokescreen which he is using to mask his deep-seated view, shared by a small minority of Jamaicans, that the region just does not have the scholars with the requisite qualifications and intellectual rigour to match the old English boys on the Privy Council bench.

Where is the evidence that Barbados and Guyana, which have adopted the CCJ as their final court, have had reduced foreign investment attributable to their adoption of the court?

The question I would like to ask Mr Holness is, what makes him so outstanding and different from his own home-grown jurists, who sit on the CCJ bench, that he is qualified to offer himself as prime minister of Jamaica and they are not qualified to serve as judges on our final appellate court?

Everytime I hear views such as those expressed by Mr Holness I become a firm believer in the arguments being put forward for reparations. Any system of mental bondage that could so damage the psyche of generations of people that after 500 years there are those amongst us who still don't think we can take care of our own affairs and continue to look to our former colonial masters for salvation, I say, yes, we should be compensated.

Winston Barrett