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Holness steers clear of giving CCJ referendum timeframe

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 9:09 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has stayed clear of saying when Jamaicans will vote in a referendum to determine whether the country will establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court of appeal.

Holness was quizzed on the issue during a press conference last night in Guyana at the end of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government conference.

He told journalists that his administration is sticking to the position taken while in Opposition that the decision to get rid of the United Kingdom-based Privy Council and replace it with the CCJ, should be made by the people and not Parliament.

He insisted that Jamaica's constitutional arrangements demand a referendum.


Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Legal experts have insisted that a referendum is not necessary as the Parliament is empowered under the Constitution to make the decision.

Based on a Privy Council ruling, a two-third majority from both Houses of Parliament is required to amend the Constitution and replace that court with the CCJ.

The previous administration was successful in the House of Representatives where it had the two-thirds majority during a vote last year.

However, the issue was stalled in the Senate where at least one Opposition member was required to vote yes.

Four CARICOM nations are a part of the CCJ's appellate jurisdiction.