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Story Highlights

  • Government Senator, Dr. Angela Brown Burke, says the establishment of a final appellate court in Jamaica is not feasible.
  • She was making her contribution to the debate on the three Bills, which seek to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica’s final court of appeal.
  • Dr. Brown Burke argued that Jamaica has already contributed financially to the Trust Fund that is being used to operate the CCJ, as agreed on by CARICOM Heads of Government and became effective January 27, 2004.

Government Senator, Dr. Angela Brown Burke, says the establishment of a final appellate court in Jamaica is not feasible.

“A Jamaican final court of appeal is not workable and not desirable at this time,” Senator Brown Burke emphasised.

She was making her contribution to the debate on the three Bills, which seek to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica’s final court of appeal, and delink the country from the Judicial Committee of the United Kingdom (UK) Privy Council, in the Senate, on November 19.

Dr. Brown Burke argued that Jamaica has already contributed financially to the Trust Fund that is being used to operate the CCJ, as agreed on by CARICOM Heads of Government and became effective January 27, 2004.

“The financial health of the CCJ is not in doubt. Ten years ago, maybe those were questions we could have raised (but) today, not so. The financial implications for the Government of Jamaica, on the other hand, were we to stop defending cases at the Privy Council, are that immediately resources will be freed up that could be used to improve our current system,” she argued.

Senator Brown Burke also noted that the CCJ is an itinerant court and can travel to Jamaica to hear cases.

“We certainly have the practical experience of the Shanique Myrie case and we saw how that operated. Had not it been for the CCJ and the flexibility it offers, Ms. Myrie might not have been able to take her case to the final appeal court, for the grave injustice she suffered after her treaty rights were violated, as she attempted to enter Barbados,” the Senator said.

The three Bills being debated are the Constitution (Amendment) (Caribbean Court of Justice) Act 2015; the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, 2015, and the Caribbean Court of Justice Act, 2015.

They are seeking to delink Jamaica from the Judicial Committee of the United Kingdom (UK) Privy Council, and to become part of the CCJ in its Appellate Jurisdiction.

The CCJ Bills were debated and passed on May 12 in the House of Representatives, where the Government enjoys the two-thirds majority needed to have them passed. The Opposition voted against all three Bills.

The CCJ was established on February 12, 2001 through an agreement signed by the Heads of Government of CARICOM at their 22nd meeting in Nassau. It has two jurisdictions – appellate and original.