CCJ: Too important to be left to politicians alone

News post October 2, 2015

Senator Mark Golding

Government Senator Mark Golding, we see, is urging his Opposition counterparts to vote in favour of Jamaica accepting the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as our final court of appeal on criminal matters.

According to Mr Golding, who is also the justice minister, the Opposition senators “must dig deep and do the right thing, and thereby ensure that in this fundamental matter, the Bill is passed with bipartisan support”.

The Opposition, which is maintaining that the matter be put to a referendum, has already voted against the three Bills in the Lower House, and it is widely believed that that position will be maintained in the Upper House.

But Senator Golding has called on the Opposition senators to ensure that they do not “etch their names forever on the wrong side of history” as the legislature needed to fulfil “this most critical element of our national independence”.

Senator Golding’s appeal comes just over a week after his colleague Government senator, Mrs Sophia Frazer-Binns, argued against placing the CCJ to a referendum.

According to Senator Frazer-Binns, “No country that has been exposed to the Westminster system of government has wished that matters relating to their judiciary be exposed to the partisan political platform, for the irreversible harm that could be done to its system of the administration of justice.”

Those countries, she argued, “have invariably reasoned that it is not a question of not ‘trusting the people’; it is a matter of not trusting a referendum exercise to leave the judicial system unscathed”.

Unfortunately for Senator Frazer-Binns, she sits in the Upper House on the recommendation of the ruling party that earlier this year waved the referendum carrot at the Jamaica Labour Party in an effort to get the Opposition’s support of the three Bills tabled in the House on May 12, 2015.

At the time, the media reported that prior to the vote in the House of Representatives, the Government sent proposals to the Opposition basically seeking at least 50 per cent support from Opposition parliamentarians and senators for the Bills. In return, the Government offered a referendum on the issue following the vote in the legislature.

The Government also agreed to ask the question: ‘Are you in favour of the Caribbean Court of Justice replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Jamaica’s final Court of Appeal?’ (or a substantially similar question agreed in writing by the Government and the Opposition). The Government also told the Opposition that this would be put to a vote by the electorate at or before the next general election, whereby the electorate may vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to that question.

Those and other promises were made by the Government, but they were rejected by the Opposition.

Four months later, the Government has not denied that it made those offers to the Opposition.

We therefore reiterate that the Government is talking out of both sides of its mouth on this issue.

Our position is that a matter of such great importance should be decided by the Jamaican people, especially given the fact that the Administration’s flip flop has raised the issue of trust.

We also hold that recent events in the Caribbean have given us reason not to rush into the CCJ until we see that our politicians have matured to the extent that they can allow the court to operate completely unfettered.



Published By: The Observer

No Tags

466 total views, 1 today


Sponsored Links

  • Penalise politicians who provide service on a partisan basis ­ — Meadows

    by on January 26, 2016 - 0 Comments

    JLP caretaker calls for action as Trelawny residents take to the street Placard-bearing residents gather at a section of the Salt Marsh to Goodwill main road yesterday to protest against the poor road conditions in the area.  SALT MARSH, Trelawny — Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) caretaker for Trelawny Northern Dennis Meadows yesterday called for laws […]


    by on July 4, 2015 - 0 Comments

    You can post your add here for free.

  • Will Cameron Speak On Reparation?

    by on September 29, 2015 - 0 Comments

    In pic: Prime Minister David Cameron. Olivia Grange said she believes Cameron would consider it unusual to be visiting Jamaica at this time in history and have extensive discussions with top government officials and not have the subject of reparation raised at some point. The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is questioning whether the Government will […]

  • Constable Crystal Thomas

    by on July 16, 2015 - 0 Comments

    She fought to the end | Lead Stories | Jamaica Gleaner Woman Constable Crystal Thomas Norman Grindley Senior Superintendent of Police Cornwall ‘Bigga’ Ford (right) escorts National Security Minister Peter Bunting, who visited the Denham Town Police Station in west Kingston, to get an update after the murder of woman Constable Crystal Thomas, who was […]

  • Plans advanced for use of drones to combat praedial larceny

    by on August 17, 2016 - 0 Comments

    Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries JC Hutchinson (centre), has the full attention of farmers in Lowe River, Trelawny yesterday. ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) – Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries JC Hutchinson, says plans are well advanced for the use of drones to […]

Follow Us on Facebook