July 4, 2022

New anti-Caribbean Court of Justice group

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From Antigua Observer

A month before the electorate will be asked to vote in a referendum to determine whether or not the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) should replace the Privy Council as the nation’s final court of appeal, a new group has been formed to streamline opposition to the process.

The CCJ CAN WAIT GROUP is aiming to streamline the wide array of views and voices opposing the proposal to the transition and to bring, what it terms as balance, to the national discussion on the critical issue.

A member of the group, Dave ‘Beef’ Joseph said the group’s members are of the strong opinion that nowis not the right time for the transition and will be mobilizing the community to promote that viewpoint.

Like others opposing the CCJ, the new group is insisting that there are issues within the lower courts which should take priority before a decision is made to accept the regional Trinidad-based court in its appellate jurisdiction.

“The Magistrates Court, the Industrial Court, these are the courts that the majority of the public access and there is a need to deal with that and this should have been done years ago. We see an unjust haste in our opinion, moving from the Privy Council to the CCJ when all pressing matters are still there for the government to deal with,” Joseph said in an interview over the weekend.

The group consists of people from the legal fraternity, the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union, the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party, Democratic National Alliance and private citizens.

Joseph said that so far, members of the group have reached out to several people who have openly spoken against the CCJ to encourage them to be a part of the initiative.

He also stated that within the coming weeks they will make good use of radio interviews and social media platforms to spread their message that the CCJ can wait.

“We believe that we will be able to connect better with the grassroots people. We are just going to put in the work and leave the rest to work out itself,” Joseph said.

A similar group called NOT YET was established in March 2015 when the government first announced plans to hold a CCJ referendum but the group eventually dissolved.

Both Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada will hold a referendum on November 6 to give electors the option of joining the CCJ.

Since the establishment of the CCJ in 2003, countries have slowly been adopting the court as their final appellate court. Dominica, Guyana, Belize and Barbados have already done so.

In order to do the same, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda require a two-thirds majority of the voter turnout to their respective referendum, which would allow for the necessary changes to be made to their constitutions.

IMAGE: Dave “Beef” Joseph (file photo)

For more on this story go to; https://antiguaobserver.com/new-anti-caribbean-court-of-justice-group/

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