August 10, 2016

Belize’s Supreme Court Just Struck Down A Law That Made Homosexuality Illegal

Belize’s Supreme Court Just Struck Down A Law That Made Homosexuality Illegal

The country is the first former British colony in the Caribbean to strike down its colonial-era sodomy law, and it could boost LGBT rights throughout the region.
Caleb Orozco, the main plaintiff in the case, told BuzzFeed News in an email that the Supreme Court ruled in his favor on privacy grounds, as well as under protections of “dignity, equality, and freedom of expression.” He added that the court also decided that protections in the Belizean constitution surrounding sex extend to sexual orientation.
Belize, a country of around 350,000 people on the Caribbean coast neighboring Mexico and Guatemala, has had the law in place since its days as a British colony. LGBT advocates are hopeful that the ruling could bolster efforts to eliminate similar laws in 10 other English-speaking countries in the Caribbean, which also have roots in their colonial past.
The written judgement in the case was not immediately available.
Another closely watched challenge in the region is in Jamaica, where attorney Maurice Tomlinson brought suit against the country’s law criminalizing homosexuality in December. Tomlinson has accused the country’s Supreme Court of “stack[ing] the deck” against his litigation by granting standing to conservative groups supporting the provision.
Tomlinson recently won a partial victory in a separate suit challenging laws in Belize and the country of Trinidad and Tobago that barred gay people from entering the country. The Caribbean Court of Justice, which has jurisdiction over the countries in the Caribbean Community, held that the laws were discriminatory and therefore unenforceable. But the court dismissed the suit as unnecessary because the countries weren’t actually blocking anyone from entry under the provision.
Speaking before the ruling on Belize’s homosexuality law was issued, Tomlinson told BuzzFeed News that a decision to strike down the provision could be “highly persuasive” to courts in other Caribbean nations where similar suits could be filed, and “the reasoning would be very important for my ongoing challenge to the Jamaican anti-sodomy law.”

May 30, 2016

The CCJ: an example to Latin America | Sir Ronald Sanders

Two events at the Organisation of American States (OAS) in recent months have underscored the soundness of the system by which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is financed.
 It is a tribute to Caribbean creativity and innovation that the CCJ is one of the few Courts in the world that does not depend on government contributions to function. The example that the CCJ represents should be replicated elsewhere, and the people of the 14-nation Caribbean Community countries should take pride in the inventiveness of Caribbean minds in structuring the funding of the Court.
The two events at the OAS that highlighted the reliability of the mechanism for funding the CCJ are related to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights. Both organisations declared that they are strapped for cash and desperately need contributions from the 34-member states of the OAS to continue their functions. 
The two bodies are important. They are dedicated to the protection of human rights within the Inter-American system. Eminent Caribbean jurists have served on the Commission where they have advanced causes to combat scourges such as racism and discrimination.
But, the Commission - set up by the OAS in 1959 — released a statement earlier this week in which it said things are so bad that mass layoffs and cancelled visits are imminent and inevitable, unless member countries provide emergency donations.
Remarkably, it was donors from European countries, not Latin American and Caribbean nations, that have been keeping the Commission alive through donations. The President of the Commission, James Cavallaro, said the crisis was sparked by these European donors cutting back because of the influx of refugees from Syria and elsewhere.
According to Mr Cavallaro, the withdrawal of European money has exposed the reluctance of Latin American and Caribbean governments to come up with the cash that the commission needs. In a caustic but frank comment, he said, “Some countries feel uncomfortable when the Commission highlights the challenges the region faces in human rights. They strangle us financially, perhaps in order to stop us fulfilling our mandate.”
At a meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS on 25 May only Panama, Costa Rica and Antigua and Barbuda offered to make immediate donations to the Commission. In the case of Antigua and Barbuda, I explained that Antigua and Barbuda greatly values the work of the Commission. I recalled the contribution made by my colleague, Sir Clare Roberts, when he served as a Commissioner, in ensuring that the rights of black people were specifically accepted as part of the Commission’s mandate as well as the obligation to tackle racism.
I made the point that the reason that the Antigua and Barbuda government could not be more generous to the Commission is that, as a small state, we are marginalised by bigger and more powerful nations that deny us access to concessional financing for development; unfairly attack our financial services sector; treat us in world trade on the same terms as large countries such as the US, Canada, India and South Africa; and refuse to provide us adequate and affordable financing to combat the effects of Climate Change of which we are an innocent victim. Despite our own struggling circumstances, we made a voluntary contribution to the Commission as an example to other larger and richer countries of the importance of upholding and protecting human rights. 
But, some Latin American governments dislike both the Commission and the Court, accusing them of being “political”. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, for instance, has dismissed criticism of his government’s legal pursuit of opposition leaders and general human rights record. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has also accused the body of “exceeding its authority” in its criticism of harassment of critical journalists who have criticised his regime.
In the last two decades, the Commission has made ongoing efforts with the OAS Member States to secure a budget that would enable it to work effectively to fulfil its mandate. As a result of these efforts, the OAS General Assembly has approved a number of resolutions expressing a commitment to address the situation; however, these have not been reflected in a significant increase in resources. This situation is not surprising given the financial state of the OAS itself. Two of its largest member states are severely in arrears in their contributions to the Organisation and they vigorously resist any attempt to impose sanctions for non-payment. Indeed, the OAS is operating on a fictional budget that cannot realistically meet its costs of operation.
In political organisations a financial crisis, while not sustainable, is bearable for a time. Not so with Courts and Commissions that are charged with upholding human rights and protecting minorities and the vulnerable. Thousands of victims of human rights violations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean would be left unprotected.
That is why the CCJ model should be adopted by the OAS in relation to both the Court and the Commission. The CCJ is funded through an independent Trust Fund which was established with US $100 million from initial contributions of the member states through loans from the Caribbean Development Bank. Since its establishment in 2001, the Court’s expenditures have been met by the Fund, allowing it to function without having to go cap in hand to governments, and maintaining its flow of work in delivering justice.
It is clear that some member governments of the OAS do not want an independent and functioning Court and Commission. It is up to others who believe in human rights and the rule of law to keep them from withering. The member states of the OAS that believe in democracy could do no better than to advance the adoption of the CCJ model for the Inter-American Court and the Inter-American Commission. In this, CARICOM has led the way – at least on sustainable funding.
(Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States. The views expressed are his own. Responses and previous

March 21, 2016

Privy Council asked to declare its position on A&B’s move to the CCJ

The key architect of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has called for an explanation by the Privy Council, as to why its justices have changed their position on allowing Commonwealth nations to access its court.
Sir David Simmons, who is also the former Attorney General and former Chief Justice of Barbados, made the call for the clarification after the President of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Lord David Neuberger announced last week that Antigua & Barbuda was welcome to stay with the judiciary.
“The Privy Council has a duty to explain to the people of Antigua & Barbuda, how this position differs from that adopted by the first President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Lord Phillips in 2009,” Sir David stated.
Lord Neuberger said that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) countries were welcome to stay with the judiciary, if they so desire and that plans were under way to assist these nations in accessing the court.
Lord Neuberger’s remarks were made in a pre-recorded interview, last week, during the Youth Forum education campaign — part of a three-month movement to adopt the CCJ as the island’s final court of appeal.
But the UK judge’s comments were quite contradictory to those published by BBC Caribbean, in 2009, when Lord Nicholas Phillips said Law Lords on the Privy Council were spending a ‘disproportionate’ amount of time on cases from former colonies, mostly in the Caribbean.
He added that “in an ideal world” Commonwealth countries — including those in the Caribbean — would stop using the Privy Council and, instead, set up their own final courts of appeal.
According to Sir David, what was more alarming is that the former UK judge had considered drafting Court of Appeal judges to take some of the pressure off their Supreme Court.
The former Barbados Chief Justice also said that the Privy Council’s claim of attempting to improve accessibility to its justice system is just a fa├žade.
“They made an attempt two years ago to go up to the Bahamas – they did go up to the Bahamas – at great expense to the Bahamian Government, as an attempt to suggest that they were going to make justice more accessible to people from the region but they have not been back since because it was too costly for the Bahamian Government,” Sir David said.
Sir David believes that Lord Phillips was sincere, in that judges had found themselves burdened by issues that “didn’t really resonate with them”.
They are more concerned about being members of the European community, he added.
Source:  Daily Observer, Antigua

March 18, 2016

Antigua-Barbuda prepares to join Guyana, others at Caribbean Court of Justice

Source: Demarar Waves
Antigua and Barbuda appears poised to join Guyana and several other Caribbean Community (Caricom) member-states in having the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final court of appeal.
A three-month public education campaign was launched on Thursday in that twin-island nation as the government prepares to hold a referendum to determine whether to replace the London-based Privy Council as its apex court with the Trinidad-based CCJ.
The campaign, which has bi-partisan support, will span three months on a budget which government said will exceed 2 million Eastern Caribbean dollars.
While no date has been set, the government hopes to hold the referendum in June.Already using the CCJ as their final court of appeal are Guyana, Barbados, Belize and Dominica.
Demonstrating a united front, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Leader of the Opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) Baldwin Spencer who were both at the head table at the launch, urged the electorate to choose the CCJ, contending it will provide easier access to justice.
Spencer noted that “true freedom” will only come when the country and region move from a position “where colonialism and imperialism controlled our decision making processes to a position where we are not only a free people, but we have to make sure we form a society in which our decision making processes are ours.”
Supporting Spencer, PM Browne made “a clarion call for all registered voters in Antigua and Barbuda to support this important institution of regional Governance and sovereignty.”
He said the current final appellate court “is clearly an outmoded colonial construct that was designed exclusively for the wealthy few and has failed to provide broad-based accessibility and dispensation of justice to the masses.”
Elaborating on Spencer’s point on access to justice, PM Browne said justice is not only delayed because of the remoteness of the Privy Council but, in many instances was denied because of inaccessibility associated with the prohibitively high costs.
“Even today, justice is being denied to the majority of our people who find it cost-prohibitive to take their case to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,” he said.
“Having the CCJ as an all-inclusive final appellate court, will cure this egregious injustice of exclusivity that has plagued us since 1834,” Browne said, while adding that the fact that the CCJ is an itinerant court (travelling court) will help offset costs for litigants.
Former attorney general Justin Simon QC noted that between 2007 and 2014 about a dozen cases from Antigua and Barbuda were taken before the Privy Council, while over 30 cases were taken before the CCJ which was inaugurated in 2005 and which also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised treaty of Chaguaramas.
Simon said the statistics suggest there is a serious problem of a lack of access to justice as he pointed to two cases where litigants spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover legal expenses before the Privy Council.
In a video message, Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque also expressed support from the proposed move, stressing it will “complete the country’s circle of independence.”
He said the court was set up with the highest levels of international standards and steps were taken, and remain in place to ensure there’s no political interference in the management and operations of the court.
According to him, the CCJ is also staffed with some of the “highest intellectual minds” and “there’s no other court in the world as independent” as the CCJ since it is funded under a unique trust fund arrangement and does not have to rely on governments for money.
Another point noted was that the judges are not appointed by the heads of government.
CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron, who applauded the main opposition UPP and the ruling administration for dealing with this issue with “political maturity”, said there’s no evidence justifying public concern of political interference, while he highlighted that the “high quality” judgments of the court are readily available for public perusal.
Explaining the system used to ensure the financial independence of the institution, he said, “The financial arrangements of the court included the establishment of a trust fund where member states invested US$100 million with the expectation that the interest of that investment would fund the court in perpetuity.”
Meanwhile, head of the education campaign mission, Ambassador Dr Clarence Henry said in order for the national referendum to be executed, elections rules must be drafted and that is currently being done by Dr Francis Alexis, a constitutional lawyer based in Grenada.
“He has been provided with all necessary legislation from which draft rules for the referendum will be drawn, in consultation with the Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission and there’s also a parliamentary process to be followed,” he reported.
On Friday morning, there will be another session which will be led by youths. Henry said the aim is to ensure the public is sensitised adequately to participate in the referendum which requires a two-thirds favourable majority to allow for the move from the Privy Council to the CCJ.

UWI lecturer says CCJ is a conundrum

Source: St Lucia Times       
UWI lecturer, Doctor Hamid Ghany, has defined the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as a “conundrum”, asserting that Caribbean people are being asked to accept the court as the final court of appeal.
However Ghany, who is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science, told the Times that the first President and Chief Justice of the CCJ, Michael de La Bastide and the current one, the Right Honorable Sir Dennis Byron both became members of the Privy Council in 2004.
The UWI senior lecturer expressed the opinion that as a result, the convention has emerged of having the Chief Justice of the CCJ become a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council, while at the same time the region is being urged to cut ties with the council.
“As someone who has been involved in drafting two constitutions that’s set up the CCJ as the final court of appeal, I am not objecting to the transfer,” Ghany explained.
The UWI lecturer  said he was objecting to the manner in which the concept is being sold to the public.
As far as he is concerned, the CCJ should be sold to the public as being a court that has a superior record of delivery and a certain level of efficiency of service.
“It should not be sold to the public on an anti-colonial basis when you have persons who are members of Her Majesty’s Privy Council who have knighthoods in the same breath telling us we should end the colonial connection,” Ghany observed.
He recalled having asked publicly for an explanation as to why the two lines of argument exist.
Ghany has called on the CCJ to abandon the anti-colonial argument, which constitutes an “intellectual trap.”
“They need to advocate for the court on the basis that it can be more efficient and will serve the Caribbean more efficiently than the Privy Council does,” he declared.
The UWI lecturer, who is Coordinator of the Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Studies Unit, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI St Augustine Campus, delivered a lecture last night at the UWI Open Campus here.

March 08, 2016

CCJ judge says criminal justice ‘broken’ in most Caribbean countries

A judge with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) says he believes that the criminal justice system in most, if not all Caribbean countries, is “broken”.
Addressing the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice and Magisterial Reform, under the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIST) Project, Justice Adrian Saunders said, “it would probably be a fair characterisation to say that in most, if not all of our states, today, the criminal justice system is broken.
Justice Saunders told the two-day meeting that in one CARICOM (Caribbean Community) state, recently, a man who had been in custody for nine years on a murder charge had his case dismissed before the judge, who found that he had no case to answer.
“Nine years in custody; no case to answer,” Saunders emphasised, saying that in another case, a man had been charged with a fairly simple traffic offence and was adamant that he was not guilty.

There is no dispute about the facts, Justice Saunders told the audience, adding that the only issue is the legal interpretation of a very small section of the traffic law in that country, which he did not identify.
“The man and his lawyer interprets that section one way and the police interpret it another way,” the judge said.
He said the case has been going on for over two years and throughout that time, the accused person and his lawyer has been spending two to three “entirely unproductive hours in court only to be told that they must return the following month”.
Justice Saunders gave a third example, saying that judges at the CCJ recently heard an appeal in a case in which a man has been found guilty of rape and had been sentenced to jail.
“He appealed all the way up to us (CCJ). When we examined the documents in the appeal, we discovered that although the man was still in custody, he really should have been released sometime before, because he had already served his sentence,” Justice Saunders said.
“Each of you must have your own examples because these are not uncommon things that happen throughout the region,” he told the gathering, which included judges, directors of pubic prosecution and other members of the judicial system from across CARICOM.
“Frankly, viewed objectively, all of this amounts to an abuse of the people of the Caribbean, especially because it not only involves a massive wastage of time and resources, but it also implicates the liberty of the individual, in a context where there is very little accountability,” Saunders said.
“Caribbean people deserve a whole lot better and it is incumbent upon those who work in the justice sector to work towards its improvement.”
Justice Saunders, however, said that his comments are not to say that there are not valiant efforts being made at introducing very useful reform initiatives.
He said reform initiatives are underway in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other countries.
“But, it is also true to note that criminal justice reform is not an easy task. It is certainly not as easy to accomplish as civil justice reform,” he said.
The Advisory Committee was established under the JURIST Project and is tasked with reviewing criminal justice and magisterial reform initiatives in the Caribbean and making recommendations for improving the quality of justice delivery and reducing delay in the criminal justice system.
The JURIST Project is a five-year regional Caribbean judicial reform initiative funded under an arrangement with the Government of Canada.
It is being implemented on behalf of Global Affairs Canada and the Conference of the Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM, by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which was appointed by the Conference as its Regional Executing Agency (REA).
The project is working with judiciaries in the region to support their own efforts to improve court administration and strengthen the ability of the courts and the judiciary to resolve cases efficiently and in a timely fashion.
Criminal Justice and Magisterial Reform falls under the project’s overarching goal of delay and backlog reduction in courts.
The project is currently being implemented in at least six countries but will be expanded to include other territories in the region.
Special attention will also be paid to building the capacity and skills of judges, court administrators and court personnel to deliver services that address the needs of women, men, girls and boys.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of a broad range of stakeholders from across the region and the criminal justice system including appellate and trial court judges, magistrates, Directors of Public Prosecutions, and a criminologist among others.

February 16, 2016

ABEC begins preparations for referendum on CCJ

The Antigua & Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) said it is making preparations to facilitate the vote which will determine whether or not the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) replaces the Privy Council as the nation’s final court of appeal.

To replace the Privy Council with the CCJ, however, would require a constitutional change, which would have to be approved by voters in a referendum.

Said referendum is expected to be conducted later this year.

Chairman of ABEC, Nathaniel Paddy James said a constitutional expert from Grenada is currently drafting the rules for the referendum which will be conducted similarly to a general election.

There is a provision in the Referendum Act which allows for the making of rules by the minister, which is the prime minister,” James said. “They are being drafted and will be looked at and will eventually go to Parliament for ratification.”

James said this is expected to be done in “short order”.

In the meantime, the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) will spearhead a public education campaign aimed at sensitising residents about the Trinidad-based CCJ.


Published February 15, 2016

January 20, 2016

Public education programme on CCJ to start in March

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) – The Consultative Committee spearheading preparations for a nation-wide public education and sensitization programme ahead of the referendum on whether Antigua and Barbuda should join the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) says the programme will be launched on March 10.
Head of the Committee, Ambassador Dr Clarence Henry, says “work is in full gear” to ensure that the public education programme meets with the objective of informing citizens on the move by the government to move away from the London-based Privy Council, which serves as the island’s highest court.
Henry said that invitations had been sent to Caribbean Community (CARICOM chairman and Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, as well as the prime ministers of St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada; the President of Guyana and Premier of Montserrat to attend and participate in the formal launch ceremony at which Prime Minister Gaston Browne will deliver the feature address.
He said the Committee has also invited prominent Barbadian jurists Sir David Simmons, Sir Henry Forde and Richard Chetanham to participate in the public education campaign.
“Plans also include visits to Barbuda for consultations with key groups including the Barbuda Council, the Barbuda representative, Arthur Nibbs, the leadership of the Barbuda People’s Movement, as well as church leaders. There will also be a Youth Forum specifically for the youth of Barbuda as well.”
Last Thursday, Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, delivering the tradition Throne Speech at the start of a new parliament term, said that the government is committed to making the CCJ its highest Court.
He said the issue should be a bipartisan affair, but warned that any attempt to politicize the process could derail plans to move ahead with the campaign.
Henry who is also Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to CARICOM, said  the Committee has “been busily putting together a draft public education campaign strategy that will seek to educate and inform the general public surrounding the CCJ and the Privy Council.
“I wholeheartedly welcome this latest indication of the pending referendum. The government has stated its position and I can advise that we are in the advance stages of our planning for what will be an extensive all-embracing comprehensive public education exercise.
“We will be education, informing, listening and sharing with all in the society; the electorates will be specially targeted; the private and public sectors, civil society, the Opposition, trade unions, and the Bar Association will be among the focus groups down for engagements which hopefully should run in earnest for approximately four months”, he said.
Henry said the inaugural meeting of the Consultative Committee will take place shortly to discuss the draft campaign strategy as well as the other plans ahead of the referendum.
“Already discussions have been held with the Chairman and other members of the Electoral Commission, several groups and potential partners who will be playing a key role in the public education process and management of the referendum.
‘Our draft plan includes focus group discussions; town hall meetings; the establishment of a  website in association with technicians within the Ministry of Telecommunications; engage all forms of media in a massive campaign as well as the publication of a magazine and flyers for distribution,”  Henry said.
He said the official launch, which is expected to be an all-day affair, will also include a public sector Forum.
The CCJ was established in 2001 and while many of the Caribbean countries are signatories of the Original Jurisdiction of the Court, only Barbados, Dominica, Belize and Guyana are signatories to its Appellate Jurisdiction.
The CCJ also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member grouping.

Published in the Jamaica Observer, 
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
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January 13, 2016

More territories might join the CCJ this year

More territories might join the CCJ this year
Dear Editor,
We are in a new year and am certain before the end of December at least three more countries will abolish appeals to the Privy Council and accept the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final court of appeal. Others will soon follow.
The CCJ was established on February 12, 2001, and inaugurated on April 16, 2005, and so far only four countries ‒ Guyana, Barbados, Belize and Dominica ‒ have severed ties with the London based Privy Council, and despite several promises and commitments by other governments there is an inordinate delay in the others coming on board. However, recent developments lead me to believe that Jamaica, St Lucia, and Grenada will soon become full-fledged members of the regional court.
Jamaica with a population of more than 2.5 million has recently passed three pieces of legislation, paving the way for such a move, and its Foreign Affairs Minister, AJ Nicholson, said there was no turning back.
He told lawmakers that there is no need for a referendum to decide the issue. He said, “Let us tear down this referendum wall.” He disclosed that none of the 41 countries that left the Privy Council and established their own courts had gone the referendum route.
St Lucia’s Prime Minister, Kenny Anthony, has always been an advocate for the regional court and so has Grenada Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, and now that a legal opinion has been issued by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court that a referendum is not required for those two countries to rid themselves from the Privy Council, moves have been made in this regard.
Meanwhile the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, and leader of the opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on constitutional reform for a bi-partisan approach. The MOU was signed in the presence of the President of the CCJ, Sir Denis Byron, who was Chief Justice of the ECSC.
The new Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, is also in favour of the regional court since he questioned his predecessor, Kamla Persad Bissessar about why she only wanted to go half way ‒ abolishing appeals to the Privy Council in criminal matters alone.
Fourth term Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines is a strong advocate of the CCJ, but his attempt to join the court failed in a referendum. He might pursue it after he settles into his new term, and the St Kitts/ Nevis Prime Minister will also be encouraged to join.
Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet

Article from Stabroek News:

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Adjournments blamed for CCJ court delays

Adjournments blamed for court delays

No case should be pending for ten years, and something must be done about the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) constant criticism of Barbados’ drawn-out justice system, says new High Court judge Pamela Beckles.
She blamed the clogging of the system on judicial officers taking too long to give decisions, lack of police files and too many adjournments. 
“I have a problem with reserving decisions for too long because if you wait for so long, you can’t remember although you have your evidence book.
“All of us are responsible for this delay – the judicial officer, the defence counsel, the accused. It is something we have to deal with. We have to do something about that criticism we keep getting from the Caribbean Court of Justice. There is no way no case should be in the system ten years; I don’t care what type of case it is.”
Please read the full story in today's Daily Nation, or in the eNATION edition.

January 11, 2016

New CARICOM Chair, PM Dean Barrow shares plan

By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Dean Barrow took over the chairmanship of CARICOM this week, emphasizing on the major issues facing the Caribbean in the year to come.
Barrow expressed optimistism over the prospects the Caribbean has, amidst the economic crisis most Caribbean countries face. He stated the economic challenges might be “the sternest economic test that our member states have had to face in recent memory.”
He noted that elevating the standard of living of member states’ civilians has been a challenge for the region, as most countries have faced an increase in foreign debt and poverty this year.
Under his leadership, Barrow, hopes the Caribbean will build economic, environmental, social and technological resilience to foster sustainable development.
The Prime Minister’s priority is on the issue of consolidation and he expressed hope that during his year of leadership, the arrangements made for Caribbean unity will be revised with the hope of making them more effective. Regional unity continues as a resounding message for Caribbean leaders.
Barrow highlighted the achievements the region enjoyed, making reference to the success of the Caribbean’s input at the COP21 and other achievements over the past years. He said these are benchmarks in keeping together as a region.
The leader of the country also mentioned the importance of the Caribbean Court of Justice, especially to shape identity and regional unity. He says he believes that having a regional appellate reflects on the level of intellectuality in the Caribbean and the region’s ability to manage its own affairs.
Crime, Barrow stated, is one of the worst social ailments prevalent in the Caribbean. He assures that this year, the member states will implement new forms of dealing with crime, especially focusing on grassroots movements.
Barrow acknowledged the Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart’s guidance over the past year and resolved to continue strengthening Caribbean integration under his one year leadership.