May 15, 2009

Barbados seeks to extend retirement age of CCJ judges to 75

Barbados seeks to extend retirement age of CCJ judges to 75
Published on Friday, May 15, 2009   Print Version
By Oscar Ramjeet 
Source: Caribbean Net News Special Correspondent 

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- While most Caribbean countries seem hesitant or reluctant to join the Caribbean Court of Justice, Barbados, which is one of the two countries who have joined the Appellate Jurisdiction of the regional court, is seeking parliamentary approval to extend the retirement age of judges. 

The Barbados Parliament is now debating a Bill that primarily speaks to extending the age of retirement of the judges from 72 to 75. 

The Barbados Advocate reported that Senator Haynesley Benn, acting Leader of Government Business in the Senate, was leading the debate in the Upper House to the Caribbean Court of Justice (Amendment Bill) and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill. 

Benn, who is also Minister of Agriculture, said that it is regrettable that, after nearly 50 years of independence, by some Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, that they are still hesitating, and toying with the issue of whether this region should have its own final appellate court, rather than having to rely on its former colonial masters. 

The minister also said that it is being suggested that Britain is considering revamping its own judicial system and plans in the near future perhaps to dismantle the Privy Council. He explained that, if agreed to by their legislators, it will probably give way to a system similar to that which presently obtains in the United States of America. 

"So we should feel comfortable in the Caribbean having our own Caribbean Court of Justice, where all matters pertaining to the Caribbean can be dealt with here, rather than having to be at the doorsteps of the Privy Council in Britain." Benn said. 

Benn said that the extension is a good one, as it allowed the judges to have more time to give of their value to the entity and by extension the judicial culture in the region.

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