Indications from St. Lucia are that that country will soon set a course to become a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
If it does become a full member, St. Lucia will be the fifth Caricom country to do so and, in the process, will do away with the London-based Privy Council as the country’s final court, accepting the CCJ instead, as its final Court of Appeal on civil and criminal matters.
St. Lucia’s acting Governor General Cyril Errol Charles, delivering the traditional Throne Speech last week at the start of a new Parliamentary term, told the law-makers that the Phillip Pierre-led St. Lucia Labour Party government will take steps toward the accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
“We are thus expected to become the fifth CARICOM member state to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ,” the Governor General enunciated.
Towards this end, the Governor General informed the Parliament, the government had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of former CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron, to prepare the way for St. Lucia’s accession to the CCJ.
“The draft legislation for the amendment of St. Lucia’s Constitution to allow for accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public scrutiny,” the Acting Governor added.
In his address, then GG told the lawmakers that the government is committed to constitutional reform, and that “The Parliamentary Committee created for this purpose will be revamped and mandated to consider specific areas such as prime ministerial term limits, a fixed date for general elections, the appointment of a Deputy Speaker, and the matter of becoming a Republic.”
All of the CARICOM countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, which also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.
However, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica have signed on to the Court’s Appellate jurisdiction.
The CCJ, established in 2005, is headquartered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. (Sources: St. Lucia News Online, Barbados Today)