March 12, 2009

UWI Professors Make the Case for the CCJ

UWI Professors Make the Case for the CCJ
posted (March 11, 2009)

A forum on the Caribbean Court of Justice began earlier this evening at the University of the West Indies Auditorium. Noted UWI Law Professors Simeon McIntosh and Winston Anderson are presenting papers making the case for the Caribbean Court of Justice. It’s a case and a cause that not many Caribbean nations have been taking up – and Professor Anderson – who is the Executive Director of the Caribbean Law Institute Center at UWI in Barbados - says they hope to demystify the CCJ.

Prof. Winston Anderson, Executive Director – Caribbean Law Institute “We want to achieve the purpose of demystifying what is required and to demonstrate in fact that it is a fairly simple procedure for moving from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice, provided that the constitutional requirements are satisfied and we don’t believe there are any insurmountable difficulties in the way of satisfying those constitutional requirements. And as I said my colleague Professor McIntosh will be speaking more in terms of the philosophical reasons why it is so critical important that we own our jurisprudence, that we own our own courts.

We just find it very mystifying as to why other countries have not signed on, particularly because it is the case that these other countries are paying for the court. The court is up and running and we have a situation where the court is operating in Trinidad and Tobago, we have very eminent judges, very respected judges – they are deciding one or two cases that come before them. But the fact is that Belize is paying for them, Jamaica is paying for this, Trinidad and Tobago – all the other countries in the region – we are paying for this court and we’re not using the court.

But we think it is an opportune moment to dialogue with the new government, to dialogue with other stakeholders in Belize to get a sense as to how quickly we can move forward because this is something now that is past due, something that I think should have happened many years ago and certainly something that we hope that can happen in the very near future.

So we expect members of the legal fraternity to be here and we welcome their presence. But equal if no more crucially we want to have a presence of, for want of better words, ordinary Belizean people because this is in an attempt to engage them in the process of discussing the court, discussing the existence of the court, discussing the importance of the court and to have their views; to solicit from them what they think about the future and then to answer any kind of concerns that they may have as to how we go forward.”

Again the forum was scheduled to begin at the UWI auditorium at 5:30 this evening. For some context, the Caribbean Court of Justice is based in Trinidad and was inaugurated four years ago. It is fully functional but only Barbados and Guyana are using it as a court of last appeal.

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