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JLP prepared to take CCJ issue to the Privy Council - Chuck

Published:Sunday | October 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Delroy Chuck

Opposition spokesman on Justice, Delroy Chuck, says the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is prepared to go all the way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, if the government manages to push through the Senate, the three bills to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica's final appeal court.

Speaking today at a meeting of the JLP's Area Council One in Kingston, Chuck insisted that all JLP senators will vote against the bills.

But in an apparent jab at senators Arthur Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton, he warns that JLP senators who do not vote against the bill would be embarrassing themselves.

Both Williams and Tufton have been on the fringes since the Opposition leader used pre-signed, undated letters to oust them from the Upper House following an internal party battle in which neither Williams nor Tufton supported the JLP leader.

A ruling by the Constitutional Court, however, saw the men reinstated earlier this year.

Chuck says if the CCJ is placed in the Constitution, the JLP will use a simple majority to remove it, should it form the next Government.

According to Chuck, Section 110 of the Constitution is not an entrenched clause and, therefore, the decision to reinstate the Privy Council as the final appellate court can be done by a simple majority.

Chuck maintains that if the CCJ is to become the country's final appellate court, the Government must hold a referendum.

The JLP justice spokesman also supported a resolution moving for all eight JLP senators to cease participation in any further debates on the CCJ bills until they receive an apology from the president of the Senate and Government senators regarding the suspension of JLP senator, Marlene Malahoo Forte.

Malahoo Forte was suspended on Friday after she failed to produce a letter, despite the repeated request of the president of the Senate, that reportedly indicates the Privy Council's willingness to travel to Jamaica to hear cases.

However, Chuck produced a copy of the letter, which he distributed to members and supporters at today's meeting of the JLP's Area Council One.