Malahoo Forte: Gov’t to state CCJ stance soon
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to declare in “short order” his administration’s position on whether Jamaica should accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte told members of the Lower House on Tuesday that the Holness administration is paying close attention to the poll results on Jamaica’s preference for the CCJ over the United Kingdom-based Privy Council.
An RJRGLEANER Communications Group-commissioned Don Anderson poll revealed last Friday that 58.9 per cent of Jamaicans are of the view that Jamaica should do away with the United Kingdom Privy Council in favour of the CCJ. Only 23 per cent of those surveyed believe that the country should stay with the Privy Council.
There have been sustained calls by the parliamentary Opposition for the Government to tell the country where it stands in relation to the CCJ becoming Jamaica’s final court.
Last month, Opposition Leader and People’s National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding said the PNP would not support the removal of the British monarch as head of state without the simultaneous removal of the UK Privy Council as Jamaica’s final court.
On Tuesday, Malahoo Forte, who is also co-chair of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), told the House that the prime minister will respond to calls for him to address the issue in “short order”.
According to Malahoo Forte, “There is and should be no disagreement that it is unacceptable and untenable to continue with an arrangement where Jamaicans need a visa to access their final court.”
She also updated the House on CRC deliberations to reform Jamaica’s Constitution.
The Cabinet minister said that the Jamaican Bar Association made a submission to the CRC, which included a recommendation for Jamaica to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ.
She said that the CRC agreed that discussion to determine which final court should be considered for the republic of Jamaica would be done in phase two of the constitutional reform process.