Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Letter of the day: JLP’s infantile level of reasoning on the CCJ

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2015 | 12:04 AM


IN ITS opposition to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has gone as far as having senators sign predated resignation letters which the leader of the JLP keeps for use to 'resign' any senator who may intend to vote in favour of the CCJ.

There was a time when the JLP was in full support of us having the CCJ. This change to a hard-line opposition position has never been fully explained by the party for the simple reason that there is no rational explanation. It appears from a letter written by a Mr Andrew Holness to The Gleaner, published on Friday, May 15, 2015, that the Caribbean Court of Justice is now being seen by the JLP as a process of re-establishing a West Indian Federation. This is such an infantile level of reasoning that should be a source of fright to all of us, given that it is coming from a former prime minister who is seeking now to be prime minister again.

But Mr Andrew Holness went further in his said letter by attempting to tie the CCJ with what he refers to as "the Buggery Act". I take it that he was referring to Section 76 of the Offence Against the Person Act, which makes buggery a crime. How Mr Holness has been able to connect buggery to the Caribbean Court of Justice in his mind is a mystery.

If this is the best reasoning Mr Holness can bring to the issue of the CCJ, then it would be best that he remains silent, for what he has stated makes absolutely no sense. As a country, we should avoid remaining with the Privy Council until we suffer the humiliation of being kicked out of the jurisdiction of that court.




It should not be ignored that in rejecting the CCJ in preference to the Privy Council, the JLP is sending a message to us all, telling us that it has no confidence in the ability of judges from the Caribbean to preside in a competent court.

If that is so, how then can Mr Holness maintain that this is the court for us? I have been practising law for 34 years now, and while I have visited the Privy Council while on visits to London, I have never appeared in that court and I am not unique. I believe not even five per cent of the lawyers in Jamaica have ever appeared in the Privy Council in a matter.

As we have seen in the Shanique Myrie case, the CCJ will come to Jamaica and sit to hear matters from Jamaica. This will make the court far more accessible and will make it less expensive.

Both parties should be mature enough to meet and agree on the court. Mr Andrew Holness' effort to link the court to the amendment of the Offences Against the Person Act in his reference to The Buggery Act is very unfortunate, childish and is inconsistent with the level of reasoning that we should expect from one aspiring to be prime minister of this country.

Let us avoid hauling the CCJ into political cass cass, even though those who oppose the court, as they are entitled to, should bring objective argument and sensible reasoning to the table.

Linton P. Gordon