Mr Editor: Thanks for carrying the news about St. Lucia’s decision to begin putting the necessaries in place to become a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which means that they will do away with the Privy Council as it final court of appeal.
When they take that step, St. Lucia will become the second Windward Island to do so, the other being Dominica. As such, therefore, St. Vincent and the Grenadines are yet to accent to the CCJ as its final Court.
And if we are to follow on what our Prime Minister has indicated in the past, I don’t think we can expect the Unity Labour Party government led by Dr Ralph Gonsalves to take this country into full membership of the CCJ.
I am not sure what his arguments against the CCJ might be, but if it has anything to do with the competence and integrity of our judges then he should ‘wheel and come again. There is hardly any need for ordinary people like me to delve into how well respected our jurists are; how much they have shown that they are equal to those in the UK, not to mention the Commonwealth.
Just to mention, it would be a good exercise for some legal studies students to research the role of Caribbean jurists in what we can describe as Anglophone Africa.
I would think, that Dr Gonsalves is well aware of the mark our jurists have made at home and abroad.
And if there is any hint of our CCJ Judges being open to influence by the politics and politicians of the region, think again! The CCJ has now been operating for close to seventeen years and during that time I have heard of no one castigating the Judges’ decision on the grounds of bias. The men and women who serve(d) on the CCJ are above that and to even hint that they are not is an affront to their integrity.
And even if some in high positions should even think that they could bring their influence to bear on the CCJ, the manner in which the Judges are appointed, their terms of reference and how the CCJ is financed will eliminate any chance of interference in the dispensing of their duties.
So while we might not see the light of the CCJ under the ULP, we would want to know the New Democratic Party’s position on it. I support full membership of the CCJ, do you?