SAN JUAN – Jamaican Foreign Minister Arnold Nicholson said that having a referendum on the country’s accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice is “not practical,” even though the change requires an amendment to the constitution.
“Let us tear down this referendum wall. It does not prove to be good sense in history, it is not good sense in logic, it is not practical,” Nicholson, said during the Senate debate on three bills seeking to establish the CCJ as Jamaica’s final appellate court.
“There is no requirement in law for the staging of a referendum on this issue,” he said, insisting that the introduction of the CCJ does not diminish the level of protection offered by Jamaica’s Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Approved by the House of Representatives in May, the legislation calls for amending the constitution to substitute the CCJ for the UK Privy Council as Jamaica’s court of final appeal.
The Senate is expected to resume debate on the issue on Thursday.
Twelve of the 15 Caribbean Community member-states are signatories of the CCJ: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
All 12 use the CCJ as a court of Original Jurisdiction for interpretation and application of the treaty establishing CARICOM, but only Dominica, Barbados, Guyana and Belize employ the CCJ as the court of final appeal in civil and criminal cases.