Published on Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Source: Caribbean Net News
By Oscar Ramjeet -Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent
Former attorney general of Trinidad and Tobago, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, a Senior Counsel, who is also the opposition Chief Whip, is calling for the suspension of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The Trinidad Guardian reported that Maharaj said in an interview, "The Caribbean Court of Justice has now become a non-starter as most countries in the region cannot get their population to support the abolition of the Privy Council.”
He said that the CCJ was costing regional governments millions of dollars, while citizens of these countries "are starving and have poverty problems”. “So the whole question arises about the relevance of the CCJ," Maharaj added.
The experienced lawyer/politician suggested that, against that background and in the wake of prevailing economic conditions, "some effort should be made to suspend its operations and reduce its staff". He added that regional governments were discriminating against their citizens by treating the CCJ in such a favourable manner.
The CCJ, which has an original and appellate jurisdiction, was inaugurated in 2005 and was supposed to replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England as the region's final court of appeal. Although 12 countries agreed to the establishment, only two countries, Guyana and Barbados, have formally adopted the CCJ as their final court.