Holness, Golding and the CCJ saga
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his capacity as prime minister, Bruce Golding threw out a third option for Jamaicans to contemplate. Having its own final court located here on home soil. That had changed the game play from whether we should retain the overseas-based Privy Council or adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party and Opposition have announced, in unambiguous language, the third option as its official position. Inter alia, it has made redundant the argument that if Jamaica does not take the initiative to leave the Privy Council, the British appellate body could leave us.
Consequently, the choice prior to, and on presentation of, three pieces of legislation on the CCJ is between establishing our own final court or adopting the CCJ. It is like a woman contemplating whether she should get pregnant and have her own biological child or adopting one.
The legal fraternity and the media have sided with the Government on adoption. The competence of our judges has not been questioned. The fear has been political interference. We can copy, as has been on done on other issues, from the mechanisms other countries have adopted in insulating their judiciaries.
The reportedly prohibitive cost of taking cases to the Privy Council has been refuted by former justice minister and veteran attorney-at-law, Delroy Chuck. He pointed out that few cases seek resolution from the Privy Council annually.
The Government's choice of the CCJ is simply in chase of a political victory. The PNP lost the Federation vote; the CCJ would level the scoreline at 1-1.