Thu | Dec 2, 2021

Is Mason serious?

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2015 | 12:42 PM


I read Mr. Ronald Mason's commentary on Sunday October 25, 2015 entitled: "CCJ revisited ..." and was thoroughly disappointed. His grasp of the facts is incorrect and as a result his conclusions are erroneous.

First, he must have been watching a different debate to claim that the Government's position is that the Privy Council does not have the ability or willingness to visit Jamaica. I would love to see him quote, verbatim, which government member of parliament or senator said this.

To the best of my knowledge the Government side has consistently said that the majority of Jamaicans will have difficulty accessing the Privy Council. This is correct as you either need to get a visa (not guaranteed) and a plane ticket to London to access the Privy Council or depend upon the Government to invite the Privy Council here and for the Privy Council to determine that there is enough work, for the visit to be justified. What happens to Jamaicans who cannot get a visa or afford a plane ticket to London, if there is no invitation or the Privy Council says there isn't enough work?

Second, is he in support of the Privy Council or an entirely local final court? He doesn't seem to know himself as first he praises the Privy Council's potential to visit Jamaica, and then he rants about not ceding sovereignty to a final court not totally within our control. Yet, the Privy Council is not totally under our control as our access to it can be rescinded within a day by the British Parliament simply voting to amend or repeal the relevant legislation from 1832 and 1833.

Third, his knowledge of the Eastern Caribbean court system is severely lacking. Unlike what Mr. Mason implies, the Eastern Caribbean does not have a local/regional final court of appeal.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the equivalent of our Supreme Court and Court of Appeal combined and their final court of appeal is the Privy Council in all countries except Dominica.

He doesn't seem to see the irony, in the fact that he opposes the Caribbean Court of Justice and uses the ECSC to bolster his argument yet the only way for these countries (all richer than Jamaica on a per capita basis) to provide affordable justice to their citizens was by pooling their resources to run the ECSC.

Richard Francis