Dominica will soon join Caribbean Court of Justice – Skerritt

ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday May 29, 2013 – Dominica will send a letter to the British government next week seeking permission to recognise the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court, replacing the London-based privy Council, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said.

“Once we satisfy the Constitutional requirements we will go forward. We had delayed it to allow for consultations as people had requested though we have had serious consultations over a period of time, the CCJ came into existence since 2001 and we are in 2013, but we delayed it for consultation,” Prime Minister Skerrit said on the state-owned DBS radio.

“We wrote to the various organisations seeking to receive their views on the matter, so I think sufficient time has elapsed and it is now time for us to move full speed with the recognition of the CCJ as our final court,” he said.

Skerrit said that the letter to London has already been drafted.

“It’s been ready for several weeks now. The government’s resolve is to move in recognising the Caribbean Court of Justice as our final court,” he said.

Prime Minister Skerrit reminded radio listeners that “Britain has said to us on several occasions we have overstayed our welcome, it is not a situation where we are in any tug of war with the United Kingdom.

“The United Kingdom understands it, they had their own challenges themselves, they have said so to us it is time for us to move…now that we have created our own court it is incumbent on all the countries in CARICOM to move forward.

“So we are moving forward and certainly this year we should see Dominica recognising the CCJ,” he added.

Last weekend, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the St. Lucia does not require a referendum before becoming a full member of the CCJ that was established in 2001.

A number of eminent jurists and the St. Lucia government had sought the advice of the Court to determine whether there was an error in the Constitution that would allow for certain amendments to proceed with before joining the CCJ.

“To put it simply the question to be settled was whether governments could proceed with becoming a part of the CCJ simply by obtaining a two thirds House support or that matter should be brought to a referendum where the people could decide for themselves,” Senior Council Anthony Astaphan told reporters.

The CCJ, which has both an original and appellate jurisdiction, also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

While a number of countries, including St. Lucia, are signatories to the original jurisdiction of the court, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize are members of the appellate jurisdiction. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)