September 04, 2012

Adopt the CCJ
By COREY CONNELLY Monday, September 3 2012

IN A veiled reference to Jamaica’s tussle over the implementation of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Saturday urged her Jamaican counterpart Portia Simpson-Miller to adopt the CCJ as that country’s final Court of Appeal.
She issued the challenge while addressing guests at the Prime Minister’s Golden Jubilee Gala at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s.

Recalling the historical antecedents which shaped much of the Caribbean region, Persad- Bissessar said, “I know that Jamaica has come through a similar pathway of history as other lands...that is to say, we have come out of slavery, indentureship, emancipation and independence. “But madame Prime Minister of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago has gone one step further and so I continue to urge you to take that next step from still being within the Westminster monarchy and to create your own Republic of an independent Jamaica.”

Jamaica is one of several Caribbean islands that has not yet accepted the CCJ as its final Court of Appeal.

However, the lower house of parliament in Jamaica is set to debate whether the CCJ should be that country’s final Court of Appeal. The legislation is said to require a two-thirds (opposition support) majority for passage.

Simpson-Miller, whose country this year also celebrated 50 years of Independence on August 6, arrived in TT days ago to participate in the Jubilee celebrations. Simpson-Miller, who attended Saturday night’s gala and Persad-Bissessar, are the only female prime ministers in the region.

In her address, Persad-Bissessar said TT has led by example over the past 50 years. “We are a nation which takes its flag and anthem very seriously, and certainly one that prides itself of racial diversity,” she said.

“We continue to stand as an example to the world of how harmony can be achieved by people of different origins.” The PM also said the resilence of the country’s citizens was one of its most distinguishing traits.

She said, “In the face of defeat, we still praise effort. In the face of adversity, we still celebrate the chance to learn and grow. In the face of great change, we still embrace the opportunity to advance.”

And while TT continues to revel in its achievements, Persad-Bissessar also urged citizens to celebrate the strong bond with their Caribbean neighbours. She said the country remains committed to the stability, progress, and advancement of the region.

Persad-Bissessar, who also proposed a toast to TT’s 50th Anniversary of Independence, paid tribute to those who put the country on a development path.

Alluding to Dr Eric Williams, the country’s first prime minister, Rudranath Capildeo the first leader of the Opposition, and former President Sir Ellis Clarke, the main architect of the Independence Constitution, she told guests, “They were the founding fathers of this independent land that we all now share together, and so I ask you, let us take hope, courage, and inspiration to follow in their footsteps and to take up the mantle given to their mandate, which is for us to forever continue to advance Trinidad and Tobago to be the best that we can, in every way that we can, hand in hand, and side by side. “And whilst we do that for our beloved nation, let us remember our Caribbean family, because when one rises, together we will also rise together,” she added.