Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) President, Sir Dennis Byron
By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- While not exactly on the front burner, accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) appellate jurisdiction is under discussion by the St Kitts and Nevis government.
CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron, said that’s the view he came away with following a recent courtesy call on Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris.
Byron has been giving an update on the various efforts being undertaken by countries that have not yet made the CCJ their final court of appeal to do so.
“Grenada has tabled legislation which led to its referendum taking place on April 26, so that is very specific. As far as I understand Antigua is in the process of taking the same step. With regard to the other OECS countries, the governments of all made statements that indicate that they’re moving toward taking that step, we’ve had nothing very specific, but that they’re moving in that direction. When I met with the prime minister in St Kitts he indicated an interest in having me address his cabinet colleagues and I indicated my willingness to respond to any invitation favourably,” he said.
WINN FM asked Byron whether the popularity of the Privy Council ruling on the St Kitts and Nevis constituency boundaries changes that saw the general elections being held on the old boundaries would be a deterrent for St Kitts to fully accept the CCJ.
"Of course not, the Privy Council has been the final court of appeal for St Kitts for over 300 years and it is just doing its duty when it adjudicates on a case. Whoever is the final court would have to respond to cases of that nature and they would be doing their duty so I don’t see it as being a deterrent at all," he said
Byron also insisted that the CCJ is an international court and not a local one, when reference was made to criticism of the decisions taken by the High Court in Basseterre and the OECS Supreme Court on the boundaries case.
"The CCJ is not a local court, the CCJ is an international court affecting the entire Caribbean and it is the apex court of the country. It has the same status of the Privy Council and in fact that is exactly what we do, we assess appeals from courts of appeals in the region and give our judgement in that capacity. Our function would be identical to what the Privy Council exercised," he noted.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network