Attorney General: Make Full Use Of The CCJ

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Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, addressing the opening ceremony of the sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice. At right is the President of the CCJ, Sir Dennis Byron. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, has called on Barbados’ regional counterparts to ???get on board’ and make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) their final court of appeal.

Lamenting that seven years after the Court was established the region still was not "making full use of this institution," Mr. Brathwaite said it was noteworthy that "so far, Belize was the only other territory, which had made the Caribbean Court of Justice its final court of appeal."

He made this plea yesterday while delivering the feature address at the Opening Ceremony of the sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice at the Supreme Court Complex.

Before an audience that included Acting Governor General, Elliot Belgrave; Chief Justice, Marston Gibson; President of the CCJ, Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, and other members of the legal fraternity, the Attorney General said that "while all CARICOM member states are to be commended for embarking on the final leg of the journey towards self-governance…Barbados and Guyana were the first member states to complete the process of further defining our own identity by legitimating the Caribbean Court of Justice as a creature of our nation states."

Noting the inauguration of the CCJ took place when all CARICOM member states were signatory to the Court, the senior government official pointed out that the establishment of a final court of appeal for the citizens of the Commonwealth Caribbean was the "most critical accomplishment in defining the sovereignty of our states, which was left virtually inconclusive at the attainment of political Independence."

He continued: "… Barbados has been in the vanguard in its establishment and in recognising its appellate jurisdiction over our courts and legal system… it is no surprise Barbados took the lead in accepting the jurisdiction of the CCJ…this country is, therefore, immensely proud to host the Court of the Caribbean people, by the Caribbean people and for the Caribbean people," the Attorney General declared.

Underscoring that the "establishment of our regional Supreme Court was an act of self-realisation and the fulfillment of our sovereign will, notwithstanding our political status as independent states," Mr. Brathwaite emphasised that the "critical importance of the CCJ could hardly be overstated as the process by which we rewrite our own fundamental texts and provide an indigenous framework for our Constitutions."

In addition, the Attorney General pointed out that "…above all else, the importance of the authority of the Caribbean Court of Justice to speak in the name of the Caribbean people, consequent on its articulation in our respective Constitutions, carries a political and cultural authenticity and legitimacy that the British Privy Council could never claim, no matter how long it serves as the final appellate court for CARICOM member states that have not made the transition to the CCJ."

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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