August 25, 2007

EC Grants Financial Support to CCJ

Source: Caribbean Press (press release)
- Christ Church,Barbados
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and CARIFORUM, H.E. Edwin Carrington on Friday 17 August signed a 1.3M Euro Financing Agreement to support the operations of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The signing ceremony took place at the CCJ Training and Conference Room, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The Agreement, signed earlier by the European Commission (EC), became effective with the Secretary-General’s signature. A Grant Agreement will be signed later to release the resources under conditions to be agreed by the CCJ and the EC. The execution period of the Agreement falls between 17 August 2007 and December 2012.

The CCJ, the Regional judicial tribunal, was inaugurated on 16 April 2005 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Based in Trinidad and Tobago, the CCJ is nevertheless an itinerant Court which could sit as necessary in any of the subscribing States. Twelve Member States have signed the Agreement establishing the Court.

President of the CCJ, Justice Michael de la Bastide said the money would be used to support a law library, building capacity for information and communication technology, public awareness; and transfer of European Court of Justice experience. “The European Court of Justice is much more matured than the CCJ and we can learn a lot from them and their experience,” Justice de la Bastide said. He expressed his gratitude to the EC, and said the “money was welcome and will be well spent.”

Addressing the gathering that included diplomats, judges of the CCJ, and the media prior to signing the Agreement, Secretary General Carrington stressed the importance and relevance of the CCJ to the operation of the CSME.

“Without the CCJ, the CSME would not be effective in the role that is envisaged for it. It would be remiss of me if I fail to acknowledge the important role the European Union plays, as the largest and most important donor in terms of regional programmes to the Caribbean. I am indeed deeply grateful to the EU for this expression of confidence in the CCJ and the Region as a whole,” the Secretary General said.

The EC also supports other Regional components under CARICOM such as the proposed Caribbean Regional Institute of Translation and Interpretation (CRITI) in Suriname and the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM).

This package further complements ongoing support for Caribbean Regional integration through programmes such as the support to the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network, to the Caribbean Rum and Rice Industries, to sustainable tourism and other institutional programmes, the Regional Radar Weather Warning System and capacity building in support of preparation of Economic Partnership Agreements.

The total funds for EC support under the Caribbean Integration Support Programme amount to 40.5M Euros.

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