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  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says Jamaica is approaching a crucial juncture in its history, when in October the Senate will debate the three Bills that seek to amend the Constitution to entrench the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final appellate court.
  • He reminded that the three Bills were debated and passed earlier this year in the House of Representatives, where the Government got the required two-thirds majority by virtue of having 42 of the 63 Parliamentary seats.
  • Senator Golding said there are many compelling reasons why, more than 50 years after Jamaica’s independence, the three CCJ related Bills should be passed in the Senate.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says Jamaica is approaching a crucial juncture in its history, when in October the Senate will debate the three Bills that seek to amend the Constitution to entrench the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final appellate court.

He reminded that the three Bills were debated and passed earlier this year in the House of Representatives, where the Government got the required two-thirds majority by virtue of having 42 of the 63 Parliamentary seats.

Speaking at the opening of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO) Fourth Biennial Conference at the Rose Hall Hilton Resort and Spa, in St. James, on September 24, Senator Golding said there are many compelling reasons why, more than 50 years after Jamaica’s independence, the three CCJ related Bills should be passed in the Senate.

If approved in the Senate, the CCJ will replace the United Kingdom Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Jamaica’s final court.

Senator Golding said he is hopeful that the eight Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Senators will not follow their counterparts in the Lower House and vote against the CCJ becoming Jamaica’s final court of appeal.

“I say to Jamaica’s eight Opposition Senators, that they should not etch their names forever on the wrong side of history. And, while I will not use this occasion to rehearse, once again, the salient arguments in this regard, I wish to make it clear that we have no reason to be bashful in making a strident call for the adoption of the CCJ as our highest court,” Senator Golding argued.

He noted that the CCJ has built an excellent jurisprudential record over the first decade of its existence and has been lauded by many luminaries as a viable alternative to the Privy Council.

“Dr. Lloyd Barnett, perhaps Jamaica’s most eminent constitutional scholar, made this point eloquently in a paper delivered at a conference this year, when he said that a careful study of the CCJ judgements, particularly in the appellate jurisdiction, showed a court that was thoughtful, thorough and analytically sound, socially relevant without being insular, learned without being pedantic, progressive while being appreciative of precedent, culturally sensitive, while appreciative of Commonwealth and international learning,” Senator Golding said.

“So, while we admire and respect the eminent Judges of the UK Supreme Court… we say without hesitation that the Judges of the CCJ are at least as erudite and, are better suited to our needs and aspirations as a people,” he added.