Belize to abolish appeals to Privy Council and join CCJ
Published on Saturday, March 14, 2009
By Oscar Ramjeet Caribbean Net News
BELIZE CITY, Belize: Belize will rid itself of the Privy Council and will accept the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.
Belize Prime Minister, Dean BarrowThis announcement was made by the country's Prime Minister Dean Barrow when he addressed CARICOM leaders at the opening of the Twentieth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Belize City on Thursday.
Barrow, who was among the first batch of West Indian trained lawyers graduating in 1975 from the Caribbean Council of Education, said, "It is my intention to end Belize's hesitation to let go to the coat tails of the Privy Council and embrace the Caribbean Court of Justice as Belize's final appellate court, thereby enhancing our Caribbean identity."
The Prime Minister, who is also Chairman of CARICOM, added, "The significance of our apparent unwillingness to replace the Privy Council with our first class jurists is not lost on our populations. It can't help to contribute to cynicism about the seriousness of our commitment to Caribbean identity.”
Barrow admitted that his country should have abolished appeals to the Privy Council long ago when he said, "I can hardly say this just to be a scold, since Belize in this matter is one of the guiltiest parties. I introduce the subject rather in order to employ precept and example. I commend the merit of the court as a critical linchpin of our government, and I also undertake to propose shortly here at home, the constitutional amendment that would allow Belize to sign on to the appellate jurisdiction.”
He took over the Belize government 13 months ago after he defeated Said Musa's party. Musa is also an attorney, but was not interested in joining the regional court. Only Guyana and Barbados have so far accepted the CCJ, which was established in April 2005, as the final court of appeal.