Antigua and Barbuda is getting strong moral support from its colleagues across the CARICOM for its public education campaign ahead of a Referendum that, if successful, will see the country migrate away from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
That’s the report from Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr. Clarence Henry, who is currently in Guyana attending the Forty-Second Meeting of the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED).
“Officials at the Meeting lauded the ongoing work in Antigua and Barbuda and expressed unreserved support. The Officials encouraged Antigua and Barbuda in the words of one Member State, (representative of Barbados) “the noble enterprise” that ultimately will bring Antigua and Barbuda into the fold of the CCJ’s Appellate Jurisdiction,” Dr. Henry said in a report from Georgetown.
He said the sentiments were as a result of a paper he delivered to the meeting on Tuesday bearing in mind that he also serves the Head of the National Coordinating Committee spearheading the public education and sensitization programme in Antigua and Barbuda.
COTED Ministers from across the region will consider the recommendations of the Officials as to the future treatment of the Agenda Item requested by Antigua and Barbuda. Their two day meeting begins at the Marriot Hotel in Guyana today.
One recommendation is for the matter be placed on the Agenda of both the second and highest decision-making Organs in the region, the Community Council and the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community respectfully.
In his presentation to the meeting, Ambassador Henry decried what he called the ‘slow pace’ of accession to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ by most CARICOM Member States. Only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica have acceded to the CCJ as their final court of appeal. “The framers of the CCJ had surely intended that by now far more CARICOM Member States would have adopted the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Court, which hears appeals as a Court of Last Resort in both civil and criminal matters from those Member States, which have ceased to allow appeals to the JCPC,” he observed.
He noted that two draft bills that pave the way for the Constitutional amendment to effect the delinking from the JCPC to the CCJ are now in the hands of civil society groups who have until the end of next week to submit their responses to the NCC.