Wed | May 24, 2017

Letter of the day: Give the people a say in CCJ vote

Published:Friday | May 29, 2015 | 5:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I have been leaning towards the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) becoming our final appellate court, notwithstanding widespread beliefs and concerns about the perceived influence that Caribbean politicians or the impact of Caribbean political culture and practices (some of which run counter to the spirit of the Westminster model of government) is likely to have over the CCJ.

One must be concerned, though, about the indecent haste with which the Jamaican Government wants to pass laws to remove the Privy Council, thereby denying the people judicial access to their head of state (the Queen) without consulting or educating the people on the subject matter.

Then there is the parliamentary opposition party's 'wishy-washy' position regarding our final appellate court, with their proposed impractical local third tier within an ailing justice system, which is already short of human, infrastructural and financial resources. Can we actually take them seriously?

I am concerned about the fact that the people have not been consulted on this serious issue by either the governing or opposing side, as these political parties and their leaders seem to have drawn their lines in the sand. It is all about their narrow, party-political interests.

The people who want to decide on the destiny of our highest court were elected four years ago with fewer than 30 per cent of eligible voters on the roll. Why do they think it is practical, just or reasonable for them to decide for the vast majority of citizens four years later? What about those persons who had no interest in voting for either PNP or JLP in the last general election, but who now have a strong desire to vote on their ultimate source of justice?

If the Government respects the people or believes in people power, it should let the people speak. Give us our say in a referendum!

PETER TOWNSEND

President, National

Democratic Movement