Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | February 6, 2012
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Joining CCJ should mark Jamaica, T&T's 50th, says Nicholson
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

FOREIGN MINISTER A.J. Nicholson has said Jamaica and the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago should mark their jubilee year by taking steps to break away from the United Kingdom-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

"How wonderful it would be, for example, if during this year of the 50th anniversary of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, if both countries could table in their respective parliaments, on the same day, a bill to be a part, fully of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). How wonderful that would be," Nicholson said.

The minister was addressing members of the diplomatic and consular corps at Jamaica House last week.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has said the country will be moving to sign on to the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction. Nicholson told diplomats that the Government is of the view that it is "an initiative that member states of CARICOM can coalesce around and, in so doing, inject renewed energy into the regional integration movement."

In 2010, senior law professor at the University of the West Indies, Simeon McIntosh, criticised the governments of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica for their delay in joining the regional court.

"My position has always been that the CCJ would not get very far without our two most populous, our largest and, arguably, our strongest political countries in the region."

To date, only Barbados, Belize, and Guyana have replaced the Privy Council with the CCJ. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have failed to establish the CCJ as their final court of appeal because of continuing disagreements in both countries.

Nicholson noted that "at the highest level in the United Kingdom, we have been advised to be a part of the court that you yourselves have created".

"I do not say for one moment that the United Kingdom would kick us out, but certainly, we can't keep loitering on their doorsteps."

Puzzling to onlookers

Arguing that "we havebeen creeping in CARICOM," Nicholson said the region's approach to dealing with aspects of regional integration would be puzzling to onlookers.

"I know, finally, that represen-tatives here must boggle their imagination and minds how a country or a group of countries, have their final court of appeal in a country which you have to have a visa to enter that country."

"We need to grow up," Nicholson said.

In the meantime, Commissioner Dr Iva Gloudon, has pledge her country's partnership with Jamaica.

"Trinidad and Tobago stands ready to work with Jamaica on several of the initiatives that you have put forward this morning. We, too, are celebrating our 50th anniversary and we believe that 50/50 ought to be a tremendous year for both Trinidad and Tobago and we will work with you," Dr Gloudon remarked.

She, however, did not say whether that partnership will involved her country abolishing appeals to the Privy council and signing on to the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction.


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