February 25, 2010

House vets replacement of Privy Council with CCJ

Source: Belize News
Published: February 23, 2010
The House of Representatives on Friday approved the replacement of the Privy Council, the final appellate court in Belize, with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The legislative backing for the change comes from amendments to the Belize Constitution (in the 7th Amendment Bill), as well as the revocation of the Privy Council Act.

Even though Prime Minister Dean Barrow had signaled the removal of the dual citizenship portion of the constitutional amendment, in response to fierce and vocal opposition to it on the home front, the proposal, nonetheless, consumed a large part of the debate.

The Opposition People’s United Party was castigated from across the floor for its position to not support the dual citizenship amendment, and was told that they have no regard for Belizeans in the “diaspora.”

Prime Minister Barrow commented that the dual citizenship feature has already been introduced into the OECS’ (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States) constitution, and was there in Belize’s pre-independence constitution.

As the law now stands, a person born in Belize who acquires citizenship in another country cannot run for office. The ruling party claimed that the amendment was crafted to give these Belizeans an opportunity to actively engage in governance, to become representatives in the House, or to be appointed to the Senate. However, there were many Belizeans who had questions over where the allegiance of a person with dual nationality would lie.

Regarding the replacement of the Privy Council as Belize’s final appellate court, the amendment to the constitution and the repealing of the Privy Council Act was done, said Barrow, to implement the CARICOM agreement establishing the CCJ.

The other aspect of the constitutional amendment had to do with the appointment of an Attorney General for Belize.

Under existing laws, the Attorney General must come from either the Senate or the House; however, the amendment would enable the Prime Minister to choose a private practitioner to fill the post, without requiring that person to be a member of either houses of Parliament.

The Attorney General, a trained lawyer, himself weighed in and supported the amendment. Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington, who also serves as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, said “…if the Prime Minister [is able] to bring in independent people, people who had already done well, who are competent, who are capable, experienced as Ministers, then we wouldn’t have a problem with corruption.”

Elrington also claimed that only about 2% of all attorneys are “really good” and “really capable of, in fact, doing a good job [for] their clients.”

Despite current speculation that the post would be given to Lois Young, whose firm Prime Minister Barrow said Friday is the government’s top choice, giving value for money, Barrow had told us in a prior interview, when the amendment was first publicized, that he was not carving out the provision for Ms. Young.

In June 2009, he said thathe has no intention of changing the current AG, Wilfred Elrington, but he is making the legislative changes to allow the Government to select from the ranks of the practitioners a top professional who doesn’t want to be caught up in the “hurly burly” of the business of the House and Senate.

Said Musa, former Prime Minister and member for Fort George, questioned Barrow on whether he was moving the system from a parliamentary to a republican system:

“The Attorney General, in the final analysis, like any other Minister, must be answerable to Parliament if it is to be a parliamentary democracy. ...So where is the representative democracy? Where is the parliamentary democracy once you appoint an AG from outside?”

The constitutional amendment, which covers the provisions for the CCJ and the appointment of the Attorney General, went through its third reading with approval, but has yet to be passed by the Senate.

February 24, 2010

Belize clears way for CCJ
BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Source: Stabroek
Published :February 24, 2010 - In Regional News

The Belize senate was expected to approve legislation allowing the country to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final appellate body, when it met yesterday.

Lawmakers approved the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution last Friday, allowing the country to replace the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ.

If approved, Belize will become the third Caricom member state to adopt the CCJ both in its original jurisdiction and a final court of appeal.

Barbados and Guyana are the only other Caricom states to recognise the court in its criminal appellate jurisdiction, since its launch in 2005.
Grenada clears the air on Mr Vegas

The Grenada government has been explaining the government’s reasons for denying a work permit to Jamaican dancehall artiste, Mr Vegas.

Mr Vegas, whose real name is Clifford Smith, was scheduled to perform in St George’s on Saturday, but did not receive permission from the government.

Labour Minister Karl Hood says while the ministry has no difficulty with regional performers coming to the island, they need to follow proper procedures.

Mr Hood said that some promoters have continued with last minute requests for work permits, even though they have been advertising their events for months.

“We will not therefore be responsible for promoters who are denied permits based on their compliance with our procedures,” Mr Hood said.

February 22, 2010

Local official believes CCJ affected by political interference
Source:Dominica News Online Published: 2/22/10

Dominican Justice Irving Andre says the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has been affected by political interference, opposing the view of an official of the Caribbean law institute.

Executive Director of the Caribbean Law Institute Professor Winston Anderson last week dismissed suggestions that political interference may affect the CCJ, but Justice Irving Andre now contends there’s evidence of political interference in the court of appeal.

“There were suggestions that our own Sir Brian Alleyne did not receive the position of the chief justice on account of political observation from one of the regional leaders, and there has been for a number of years suggestions that the judicial system is not entirely impervious from influences from the political sphere,” he said.

“At this point, there is a strong narrative, suggesting based on historical evidence, that the court has not been entirely immune to that type of influence in the past,” Justice Andre underscored.

Justice Andre believes the onus is on the “powers that be” to ensure the final appeals court chosen for the region is free of political interferences.

“I think those who are making a significant contribution towards ensuring that we have a judicial system…which is second to none … and they have taken steps to try to ensure that when this thing becomes a reality that the question of political interference does not become an impediment towards the realization of justice in the Caribbean.”

February 18, 2010

Lecture - The Role of the CCJ

Source: Dominica News Online

Published 17.2.10

The University of the West Indies Open Campus Dominica, in collaboration with the Dominica Bar Association, is pleased to announce another public lecture on a topical matter in the lives of the people of the region and Dominica.

The Lecture will take place on Thursday, February 18, 2010 commencing at 6:00 pm at the Conference Room of the Garraway Hotel in Roseau, Dominica. Two distinguished academics from the Law Faculty of The University of the West Indies will make presentations on the acceptance of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its appellate jurisdiction. The presentations are part of a regional information effort regarding acceptance of the CCJ throughout the region.

Professor Winston Anderson will present on Dominica’s delinking from the Privy Council and accepting the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction and Professor Simeon C R McIntosh’s presentation will be on the philosophical justification for the court. Jointly, the paper is titled, “Constitutional Authorship and the Inscription of Caribbean Nationhood: The Role of the CCJ”.

A former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, Professor McIntosh has taught courses in Conflict of Laws, Federal Jurisdiction, Constitutional Law, Remedies, Jurisprudence, and Constitutional Theory and Civil Procedure. He holds the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Columbia University School of Law, New York N.Y.; the Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Howard University School of Law, Washington D.C.; and the B.A. in English from York University, Toronto, Canada.

Professor Anderson in 1999 became Senior Lecturer at the University of the West Indies on indefinite tenure. He was appointed Executive Director (Ag) of the Caribbean Law Institute Centre for the academic year 2000-2001.

He was appointed to the position of the General Counsel of the Caribbean Community Secretariat on secondment from the University of the West Indies, 2003-2006. In 2006 he was appointed Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies. Professor Anderson’s major publications include, The Law of Caribbean Marine Pollution, published by Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 1997; Elements of Private International Law (2003, Caribbean Law Publishers); and Private International Family Law (2005, Caribbean Law Publishers).

Following his return to the Faculty of Law in 2006, Professor Anderson was appointed Executive Director of the Caribbean Law Institute Centre, a position he holds at present.

February 05, 2010

Jamaican professor newest CCJ judge

JAMAICAN Prof Charles Anderson is the newest judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), a release from the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission stated yesterday.

Anderson is scheduled to replace current CCJ Judge Duke Pollard, who is due to retire on June 10.

He is expected to assume duties on the day of Pollard’s departure from office.

Anderson lives in Barbados and holds a law degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and a Doctorate in Philosophy (PhD) in international and environmental law from the University of Cambridge.

He has been called to the Bar successively in England, Barbados and Jamaica.

For most of his career, Anderson has been a member of the Law Faculty of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

He was appointed lecturer in 1994, senior lecturer in 1999 and was made professor in 2006.

Anderson spent a year as a research fellow at the University of Sheffield, between 1994 and 1995, and a year as a senior lecturer on fellowship at the University of Western Australia in 1996.

Anderson is currently the executive director of the Caribbean Law Institute Centre (CLIC).