Wed | Dec 8, 2021

The correct path for Caribbean Court of Justice

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Constantly, in The Gleaner editorials, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the public are reminded of the proposal of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) that a referendum be held as part of the process for Jamaica to subscribe fully to the Caribbean Court of Justice, the accessible, affordable regional final court of appeal that will sit in judgment on Jamaican soil.

But several local professional and other organisations of civil society have publicly observed, correctly, that there is no need for any such referendum exercise to achieve that highly justifiable game-changing purpose. So have the People’s National Party (PNP).

In fact, the research, including recent experience right here in the Caribbean, discloses that there is no positive, but rather a chaotic, outcome that will flow from an adoption of the referendum route. And the conventional wisdom is that, by doing so, irreparable damage can thereby be done to the judicial system.

Why then, pray, does The Gleaner not, in its editorials, also remind Mr Holness and the public of the PNP’s pointed, politically painless path of the constitutionally required two-thirds majority vote in each House of Parliament to achieve that goal?

Surely, justice demands that the thoroughly serene constitutional process be projected in those editorials. And why should the slippery referendum road, historically shunned by every former colony that has successfully made the transition away from the Privy Council, now insisted on by the JLP, be pursued, and allowed to prevail?

Far too many generations of Jamaicans have been unjustly denied the privilege of being able to exercise the right to appeal to their court of last resort because of its location an ocean away in London, England.

Not so long ago, it was fortuitously revealed that the correct path was unlawfully blocked by the JLP leader extracting from, and utilising, undated letters of resignation presigned by would-be senators to register their vote against the landmark initiative. Happily, it remains true that a consensual conscience vote in Gordon House would change the unjust, unconscionable situation for all time!

And some would argue strongly for such a long-overdue outcome to a matter of justice for all Jamaicans to be pursued and to occupy as important a slot on the calendar of the Legislature as what eventually is to happen concerning MP George Wright.

A luta cintunua!

A.J. NICHOLSON