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UWP may not support Dominica’s move to Caribbean Court of Justice

images-Caribbean-Thomson_Fontaine_dominica_853024483From Caribbean360

Dr. Thomson Fontaine, a senior member of the UWP, who is expcetd to contest the next general election, said joining the CCJ was a “very serious” matter for Dominica.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday February 7, 2014, CMC – The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has hinted that it may not support moves by the Roosevelt Skerrit government to have the island join the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court.

Last month, Roseau said it had received the go ahead from Britain to join the court established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as its final court.

While Dominica is a signatory to the CCJ’s original jurisdiction, it, like all of the member states of the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), is not a member of the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revise Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

In an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Dr. Thomson Fontaine, a senior member of the UWP, who is expected to contest the next general election, said joining the CCJ was a “very serious” matter for Dominica.

“As a party we don’’t believe that Dominica is ready for this move. We don’t believe it should have been done. There are still a lot of questions about the judiciary and the ability of our own people to preside over themselves.

“We believe that this move is a hasty one and that there should have been discussion about it and we would certainly initially not support this move because we don’t think it was done correctly,” he said.

Fontaine said that the UWP if of the opinion that Prime Minister Skerrit held “absolutely no consultation with the Dominican people and with the opposition on something that is critical, something that is so crucial to the future of all Dominicans.

“A lot more dialogue needs to have taken place. So we are very concerned about that.  So we would certainly hope that the Prime Minister would slow down and let it take its natural course. Let the discussion begin let us see what our neighbours are doing in the Caribbean before we move ahead because we have already seen some issues with the Caribbean Court..

“For example, the recent decision in Barbados concerning the Myrie case where we see some hesitation on even the part of the Barbados government to kind of agree as it were to the ruling of the Caribbean Court so there are serious issues that have not yet been addressed and as a party we’re saying let us slow it down, let us discuss this move thoroughly.

“Let us be sure that this is what we want to do and from where we as party sit we are not certain that the majority of Dominicans support the move,” he added.

Last week, Dominica’s Attorney General Levi Peters, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio , said that the Skerrit administration would be bringing the necessary legislation to Parliament as soon as possible.

“The Dominica Constitution Amendment Bill 2014 which is already drafted should be before the Parliament shortly, I suspect before the next parliament,” Peter said defending the decision to join the CCJ.

He said between the first and second readings of the legislation there must be a 90 day period before it is fully debated and passed by a three-quarter majority of the elected members. The ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) controls 18 of the 21 seats in Parliament with the other three seats are held by the UWP.

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