Talk Di Tings| Will Ja accept the CCJ?

October 12, 2015

Mi haffi tek time out fi big up fadda God fi di rain him mek a fall from wah day because we were badly in need!

The constant water lock offs and restrictions did a get a way! Mi seh, mi cyaa kip up wid Jamaica. Week in, week out, sumpn big gwaan and dis week is no different. Mi ah talk bout de Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). For some time now the issue is whether the CCJ should be our final court replacing the Privy Council in England.

The way our court system is structured, if one loses a case in the Resident Magistrate's Court or the Supreme Court one can appeal to the Court of Appeal. If that appeal is unsuccessful, then you can appeal further to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, which we just simply call the Privy Council.

recent debates

Since Jamaica became independent in 1962, there have been calls for our country to have its own final court of appeal. One of the arguments is that this would complete our "circle of independence". These calls have increased steadily, resulting in the most recent debates on the issue.

The Opposition JLP has gone on record to say dat dem naw go support de CCJ unless there is a referendum on the issue. In fact, the Opposition gone further fi seh dat dem want Jamaica fi have its own final Court of Appeal and nuh join nuh CCJ.

Nuff people seh dat ah politricks ah play wid de court issue. Story come to bump now because some months ago de Government used its majority in the House of Representatives (di bottom house inna de Parliament) to vote fi di legislation fi mek de CCJ Jamaica's final court. Di Government did get the necessary two-thirds majority weh it need fi mek di CCJ Jamaica's final court. But it nuh done deh so as di Senate (di top house inna de Parliament) still haffi vote pan de issue.


It announce di oddah day dat dis Friday, October 16, the Senate ago debate the CCJ legislation. If all de government senator dem (13) vote fi di legislation, di Government ago need at least one vote from di eight Opposition senators dem before di CCJ legislation can pass. Is a whole heap a prekeh!

There are quite a few questions that have to be answered in deciding whether Jamaica should join the CCJ:

1. Will the CCJ be better for Jamaica than the Privy Council?

2. Jamaica signed the treaty establishing the CCJ in 2001 - is there an obligation on us to follow through and support the court?

3. How has the CCJ operated since it started hearing cases in 2005?

4. The CCJ is based in Trinidad and Tobago. Although this is closer to Jamaica than England. Is the distance still a problem and will result in it being too expensive for litigants?

5. Should we have our own final court located in Jamaica with Jamaican judges?

6. If we have our own final court here, should judges from other countries be allowed to sit on it ?

7. Having regard to the history of successive governments treating the courts and the justice system in general very poorly, should we even be thinking of having a new local court?

The fact that Jamaica has already committed roughly US$25m to the CCJ, shouldn't we join it so that we can at least benefit from the money we have spent?

9. Should there be a referendum? If so, will it be a true reflection of the people's views, or will the matter be too politicised?

10. Should there be more information circulated about the CCJ, that is better educational programmes undertaken by all involved especially the Government, before Jamaicans are asked to vote on the CCJ ?

If smaddy coulda answer these questions before Friday so the people of the nation can have a better understanding, it would be greatly appreciated! A nuff slip between the cup and the lip, but whatever the outcome, I hope it will be in the best interest of the people. Ooonu know seh dat mi nuh fraid fi talk di tings! Mi caan wait fi see way aggo happen.

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