REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR YOUR COURT, THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE (CCJ) OBLIGATIONS
Grenada will be honouring its Treaty obligations as on 14th February 2001, together with other CARICOM countries, Grenada signed “An Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice” in Bridgetown, Barbados; Grenada has already made its financial contribution to this Court
The CCJ is more accessible to the ordinary person —the Court sometimes travels from country to country; processing of cases may be done electronically; the CCJ headquarters is only a few minutes away in Port of Spain in Trinidad
Urgent matters are tried swiftly (For example, the case of Professor Eddy Ventose v the Chief Electoral Officer of Barbados (2018) was heard about four days after filing and included a Sunday sitting);
Using the CCJ is Less costly—in terms of counsels’ fees; filing fees; commuting and accommodation; A Privy Council matter may cost about EC$150,000.00 as compared with approximately EC$20,000.00 in the CCJ (Note: these figures are not standard figures but are used as a guide).
The CCJ provides an opportunity to build up a mature Caribbean Jurisprudence—judges from the region would settle the general principles upon which legal rules and the manner in which new and doubtful rules are to be applied in terms of Caribbean cultural and sociological practices; the British have their own way of thinking in many significant societal areas;
PRIVY COUNCIL SOON TO BE NO MORE
English authorities have hinted in the past that the Privy Council may no longer be available for Commonwealth countries; a notice to this effect may be given at any time; It is to be noted that England itself does not use the Privy Council as its final Court of Appeal in the normal civil and criminal matters; England has its own final Court of Appeal;
Having the CCJ as the final Court of Appeal in the Caribbean helps to complete our independence status in the Caribbean; it is one of the positive ways of breaking one of the chains of colonialism which lie around the necks of Caribbean people.
The CCJ enhances the development of closer regionalism amongst Caricom countries. The Agreement Establishing the CCJ was signed by the Prime Ministers or Presidents of 12 CARICOM states. They are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago where the Court is located. Because their leaders have signed the Agreement, these countries are referred to as contracting parties to the Agreement Establishing the CCJ.
The ballot paper will ask Grenadians to vote yes or no to the Bill proposing to amend the Constitution to allow Grenada to go to the CCJ. The Bill does two things.
1. It removes references made in the Constitution to the “Privy Council” and “Her Majesty in Council” (another name for the Privy Council). It then replaces these references with the term “Caribbean Court of Justice. It also removes references to the Privy Council Order which provides for access to the Privy Council and replaces it with references to the Caribbean Court of Justice Agreement provisions which provide for access to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice
2. The Bill renames the Supreme Court of Grenada, now styled “The Supreme Court of Grenada and the West Indies Associated States” to the new name “The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court” in keeping with our other OECS members.
On Tuesday 6th November 2018 a Referendum is scheduled to be held in Grenada. The electorate will be asked to vote as to whether they support the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final Court of Appeal for Grenada or whether they want to keep the Privy Council as that Court. The present court system in Grenada involves the Magistrates’ Courts, the High Court, the Court of Appeal, with the Privy Council being the final Court of Appeal in accordance with the Constitution of Grenada. Disputes involving land, contracts, marriages, criminal charges or any other matter may be appealed from any court all the way up to the Privy Council which is based in England. Because of the expense and for other reasons, justice is not easily accessible to the ordinary person.
BREAK THE CHAINS OF COLONIALISM FOR ONE UNITED CARIBBEAN!!!
VOTE “YES” FOR THE CCJ
Dated this 1st day of September 2018.
A Publication of the Caribbean Court of Justice Advisory Committee