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Did the government try to woo Opposition CCJ votes?

Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2015 | 7:31 PM

It appears the Government had attempted to woo the Opposition to vote for the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica's final court of appeal.

The Gleaner Online has obtained a document purported to have been sent by Government to the Opposition Leader Andrew Holness proposing to hold a referendum on the matter if more than 50 per cent of Opposition MPs and Senators vote in the Houses of Parliament to support the CCJ Bills.

In the proposed agreement, the Government said the referendum would be held on or before the next general election.

But the Opposition would be barred from saying or doing anything like media interviews or platform speeches that might be reasonably perceived by the electorate as being against the CCJ.

The agreement also proposes that where there are any material breaches of the agreement after the CCJ Bills have been passed by the Parliament with the support of at least two-thirds of the members of each House, the Government shall be released from any further obligations.

It notes that at that point, the Government could cause the CCJ Bills to be brought into operation.

The proposed agreement also made provision for a panel of three arbitrators comprised of selected members of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica to hear any dispute that may arise.

Three members were to be selected the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.