April 19, 2008

T&T Opposition Opposes the CCJ

Abolish Caribbean Court of Justice
Source: Newsday ( T&T)
Saturday, April 19 2008

THE Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) should be abolished and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council retained to ensure fairness and equity in the Judicial system.

That’s the view of Opposition Chief Whip Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj who stated that the Trinidad and Tobago population possessed a “lack of confidence” over perceived political interference in the local judiciary.
He was responding to comments by Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson who advised this country to “succumb” to the CCJ’s jurisdiction saying it would be difficult to justify the regional court’s existence when “only two or three countries in the entire region have been able to accede to its jurisdiction.” Thompson called for a “national consensus” to take place in Trinidad and Tobago, where the Court’s headquarters are located, so that the CCJ could replace the Privy Council.
However, Maharaj pointed out that the agreement signed by the UNC when it was government had been signed “subject to consultation with the people.” “The people must decide and given what is happening in Trinidad and Tobago at this time. This country is not at a time where we can depend on the CCJ having regard to what transpired in the CJ case. There is a lack of confidence in the politicians in Trinidad and Tobago . . . the Privy Council should be kept on,” Maharaj said.
He said millions of dollars were being spent on the CCJ with only very few cases being heard by the regional court saying the population of the other Caricom countries which had also not signed on to the Court would also not vote in favour of the Court due to perceived political interference in their court system.
“The Court should be abolished,” he said.

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