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CCJ political consensus may not exist, says analyst

CCJ-Caribbean-Court-of-JusticeFrom Antigua Observer

A political analyst has said that it is ‘very likely’ that the referendum to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice may fall through if the United Progressive Party and Antigua Barbuda Labour Party do not engage in constructive discourse.

The Electoral Commission is preparing for a vote which will determine whether the CCJ replaces the Privy Council as the nation’s final court of appeal.

But the government warned against politicising the acceptance of the CCJ during last Thursday’s Throne Speech.

“If it appears that any political party seeks to turn the referendum into a measure of political support, then my government will signal that the referendum will have to await another day,” Governor-General Sir Rodney Williams said.

Social and political analyst Arvel Grant said on OBSERVER radio that it may not be in the opposition’s interest to allow the referendum to succeed, as it may be seen as a political victory for the current administration.

“In a normal political environment, unless there are significant behind-the-scenes conversations taking place between senior members of the opposition and senior members of the government,” Grant said. “The prevailing environment makes it very likely that the opposition may not want to participate in a process that would give the government a claim of significant policy success.”

Grant added that the current administration may be wary of the opposition seeking to turn the issue into a referendum on the government’s performance.

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