Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Parliamentarians to make historic CCJ vote today

Published:Tuesday | May 12, 2015 | 5:44 AM

All eyes will be on Gordon House this afternoon as the nation's parliamentarians make the historic vote on whether Jamaica should leave the United Kingdom based Privy Council.

The Members of Parliament will vote on three bills which seek to amend existing legislation to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) replace the Privy Council as Jamaica’s final court of appeal.

 

Jovan Johnson reports

The parliamentarians will vote on ‘An Act to Amend the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act’, which seeks to repeal provisions for appeals to the Privy Council, and exclude any appeals to the Privy Council instituted prior to implementation of the CCJ.

The MPs will also vote on ‘An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica, to amend Section 110 of the Constitution to repeal provisions relating to appeals to the Privy Council and replace them with provisions establishing the CCJ as Jamaica’s final court’.

They'll vote on ‘An Act to make provisions for the implementation of the agreement establishing the CCJ as both a court of original jurisdiction, to determine cases involving the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and International treaties and a superior court of record with appellate jurisdiction’.

Speaking during the debate on the bills in January, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said any member of parliament who votes against the passage of the bills is not acting in the best interest of Jamaicans.

Leader of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party Andrew Holness said he is not against the country leaving the Privy Council.

However, he says parliamentarians should ensure that the CCJ is properly established as the country’s final court of appeal.

Holness warned that if the bills were passed, the appellate court could be brought before the Constitutional Court to determine whether the former was rightfully established.

The Government has a two-thirds majority in the House, and if all its members turn up and vote in favour of the bills, passage will be secured.

However, the Government will need to sway at least one Opposition senator once the bills get to the Upper House three weeks from now or else the effort to make the CCJ the final court of appeal will fail.