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CCJ President says no to quota system suggestions

Published:Monday | February 2, 2015 | 9:26 AM

President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron, is dismissing suggestions that a quota system should be used to select judges to the court.

The issue of quotas has been raised in Jamaica, where a fierce debate is ongoing as to whether the country should sign on to the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction.

Some critics argue that a quota system should be used to ensure that CARICOM countries with large populations, such as Jamaica, are guaranteed judges on the bench.

Speaking in a radio interview recently, the CCJ president said such a system would not work, arguing that it would cause an increase in the number of judges and, therefore, the expenses of the court.

He says with seven judges, the CCJ is comparable to countries with larger populations which have a small number of judges sitting in their highest courts.

The CCJ was established in 2005 and its first Jamaican judge, Professor Charles Winston Anderson, was appointed in 2010.

Jamaica is to have a parliamentary vote on April 28 on bills seeking to replace the UK’s Privy Council as Jamaica’s final appellate court.

Despite 12 CARICOM countries joining the court’s original jurisdiction, only three are members of the CCJ’s appellate jurisdiction.