Sat | Jan 19, 2019

LETTER OF THE DAY - Don't stand in the way of CCJ

Published:Friday | January 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I am writing in response to the recent utterances made in Parliament about Jamaica moving away from the Privy Council and adopting the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as our final appellate court.

This issue is of national importance, and as a law student, I am somewhat disturbed by the fact that, at this pivotal moment in our nation's development and history, those whom we entrust with the mantle of legislative power are at loggerheads, some under the cloak of partisan politics.

This is a clear example of the colonial chains still wrapped very firmly around our necks. In this our 53rd year as an independent nation, I find it quite difficult to understand why it has taken so long to abolish appeals to the Privy Council.

The debate should have long been concluded and the necessary bills voted on, and more emphasis placed on finding ways of lifting the country out of its current woes.

Are we not confident enough in the competence of our own Caribbean judges? Are we still hell-bent on always running to our masters to adjudicate and dispense what they consider to be justice?

I am in no way trying to discredit the significant contribution that the Privy Council has made to the development of the legal jurisprudence in our region, but it's about time we adopt a Caribbean court, headed by competent and brilliant legal minds who are connected with the Caribbean reality.

Adopting the CCJ will also make it easier for Jamaicans to get redress whenever their rights are breached by any member state. Take, for instance, the decision in the case of Shanique Myrie v The Government of Barbados. This represents a landmark decision handed down by the learned judges of the court. The judgment signifies that the court is able to dispense justice in a fair and efficient manner, and at the same time not influenced by politics.

Adopting the CCJ is a step in the right direction, and I hope that when the House votes on April 28, they will make the right decision.


Kingston 6