Source: Radio Jamaica
September 28, 2009
Attorney at-law and Consultant at the University of the West Indies, Cavehill Campus in Barbados, Jeff Cumberbatch has chided Caribbean governments for failing to move toward a final regional appellate court without their former colonisers pushing them toward it.
The visiting attorney weighed in on the debate that Caribbean governments including Jamaica should make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) their final Court of Appeal.
The People's National Party (PNP) last week called on the government to re-table legislation to establish the CCJ as the final appellate jurisdiction after an embarrassing comment from the new President of the UK Supreme Court.
Lord Nicholas Phillips was quoted in the London Financial Times last Monday that UK Privy Council law lords were spending too much time on cases in the former colonies, mostly the Caribbean.
Mr. Cumberbatch says the decision for Caribbean governments to move their countries forward should not have come down to such a 'motherly' shove.
He says all that is required is political will.
"I know that certain jurisdictions have to go through certain processes, parliamentary votes and referenda but there needs to be the political will to get these things moving,"
"Day by day you can hear it as a matter of political opportunism people saying ‘we are not ready for that yet' but the justice system in the Caribbean is as far removed under the CJJ- as far removed from political influence as it could be now," Mr. Cumberbatch said.
Political commentators in the other Caribbean countries have called Lord Phillip's comments a "proverbial slap in the face that should not be taken lightly".
Guyana and Barbados are the only two countries that have already made the CCJ their final appellate court.
Mr. Cumberbatch is in the island at the behest of the Media Association of Jamaica to review the Hugh Small report on local defamation laws.