Sun | Jan 29, 2023

Letter of the day: CCJ debate – a colossal waste of time

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I am at a loss as to why we are even debating this matter about the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) at this time in our history. I can’t even begin to fathom why this issue is heading the list of priorities for the Government at a time when we have so many other important issues affecting the lives of every single Jamaican.

The murder rate this year is up 25 per cent when compared to corresponding period last year. Over 1000 Jamaicans have already been murdered and we still have more than two full months before the end the year. This an average of about three murders per day, not to mention those murders that take place, but are not reported.

The health sector is in a crisis. There are not enough beds in the hospitals to put patients, and medical supplies are a scarcity in almost all of our public hospitals and clinics. In the space of three months, over 18 babies have died as a result of an infectious outbreak in two of our major hospitals which saw a total of 42 babies infected. We are talking about a death rate of approximately one in every two infected babies.


The roads all across the country are in a deplorable condition; unemployment is on the rise; many communities have to be drinking untreated river water because no water is flowing through their pipes. And while all of these issues and more are affecting the lives of almost every Jamaican, the Government has time to be fussing about the CCJ? Will the CCJ bills address any of the critical issues affecting the lives of the majority of us Jamaicans? Will it bring justice to the many that are denied of justice in our local courts? Have we all forgotten about the late Ezroy Milwood? Have we forgotten about Khajeel Mais? Do we remember Keith Clarke? Ezroy’s fight with the Government lasted for more than 10 years.

Khajeel has been murdered four years now, while Keith Clarke’s death was over five years ago. If it takes this long for justice to be handed down in our local courts, one can only imagine how long it will take for a case to be brought to the Privy Council or the CCJ if it were to be our final court.

From a cursory glance at the court schedule on the Supreme Court website, I estimate that no more 1000 cases are heard in the Supreme Court each year. This represents not even one per cent of the Jamaican population.

I’m no lawyer or legal luminary, so you can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m assuming that a case would first have to reach the Supreme Court before leave can be granted for it to be taken to the Privy Council (or the CCJ). If only one per cent of the population will be affected by the Privy Council (or the CCJ), then why is this taking priority over issues such as crime, health care, roads, water and jobs.

I am clueless as to why this matter is a priority for the Government. The Government appears to be fiddling while Jamaica burns. I am begging the Government to wake up and start focusing on the issues that affects all of us as Jamaicans. This CCJ matter is taking up too much valued time and energy that is needed in other critical areas.