October 21, 2007

Embrace the CCJ

'Embrace the Caribbean Court of Justice'
Source: Barbados Advocate
Sun Oct 21 2007
The batch of 22 new attorneys who were recently admitted to the Bar have been urged by one of their colleagues to lobby their respective policy directors to embrace the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The comments came last Friday from career banker, Hilford Murrell, during his response after the new attorneys were admitted to practise law in Barbados by this country's Chief Justice, Sir David Simmons.

Noting that the complement included Barbadians, Guyanese, Trinidadians and Jamaicans, Murrell said, "I suggest that there is one unfinished business that we are duty-bound to address. This concerns regional acceptance of the CCJ as the final Appellate Court."

He added: "With the bonded friendships that we have cultivated over the years, let us inspire our colleagues and classmates to lobby their respective policy directors and in the words of a statement attributed to your Lordship in the UK press The Guardian Weekly "to entomb the last vestige of colonialism by embracing the CCJ."

The new attorney observed that in so doing, even though economic independence may be dwarfed by globalisation, at least as a region "we are assured that we can still stand tall in the identity of our own Court".

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the regional judicial tribunal established on February 14, 2001 by the agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice. The agreement was signed on that date by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states of: Antigua & Barbuda; Barbados; Belize; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. Two further states, Dominica and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, signed the agreement on February 15, 2003, bringing the total number of signatories to 12. The CCJ was inaugurated on April 16, 2005 in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. It had a long gestation period, beginning in 1970 when the Jamaican delegation at the Sixth Heads of Government Conference, which convened in Jamaica, proposed the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal in substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The Caribbean Court of Justice is designed to be more than a court of last resort for member states of the Caribbean Community. For, in addition to replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the CCJ is vested with an original jurisdiction in respect of the interpretation and application of the Treaty Establishing the Caribbean Community. In effect, the CCJ is designed to exercise both an appellate and an original jurisdiction.

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