Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
FOREIGN AFFAIRS Minister A.J. Nicholson said the ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the Shanique Myrie case is a boost for the Government as it seeks to amend the Constitution to make the court the country's final appellate body.
"I am optimistic that persons will consider this to be a fillip in us moving forward," Nicholson said.
The CCJ yesterday handed down the landmark ruling on rights and freedoms CARICOM nationals should enjoy while moving across the region.
"If the judgment had gone in another direction, persons might very well have had a jaundice approach or feeling about the court itself," Nicholson said.
"We believe that Jamaicans and the Opposition may very well feel that it has been a fair and well-reasoned judgment. It might very well mean that persons might be willing to say, 'This is the kind of court we want in the Caribbean', and be more willing to catch on to it," the foreign affairs minister added.
The Government has tabled bills in the House of Representatives seeking to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the CCJ as Jamaica's final court of appeal.
Nicholson said he expects that the House would shortly begin the debate on the bills, which fell off the order paper last year.
The bill requires two-thirds support in both Houses of Parliament to secure passage. The Government has a two-thirds majority in the House, but would need to sway at least one opposition member in the Senate to side with it on the matter.
However, the parliamentary Opposition has already signalled it will only support the CCJ if the Jamaican people vote for it in a referendum. The Government has said a referendum is unnecessary, and that it would not be proceeding that way.