Former Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, is urging both the Government and the Opposition to work together to ensure that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is the nation's final Appellate court.
Mr. Patterson said it is no longer a matter of meaningful legal disputation that the decision of the Privy Council does not prescribe the necessity of a referendum.
“If as is being urged, there is a desire to fashion some form of public consultation, I dare to suggest that a well designed programme of public education, accompanied by a series of islandwide meetings in the presence of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition jointly, is the safest and ideal route to pursue,” he said.
The former Prime Minister was responding to tributes from Members of Parliament and Senators, at a joint session of Parliament on November 13, held to honour and recognise his contributions to Jamaica’s post-independence development.
Mr. Patterson stated that both political parties should think of the “therapeutic effect on the body politic with engagement of Ministers, Spokespersons and Members of Parliament from both sides."
“It would do more than signify unity on this issue of vital importance. Indeed, it would serve as a precursor for bringing in a new kind of politics,” he said.
The Government tabled three Bills in the House of Representatives on July 25, aimed at replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the CCJ as Jamaica’s final appellate court.
The Bills are: An Act to Amend the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, which seeks to amend the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act, to repeal provisions for appeals to the Privy Council, and exclude any appeals to the Privy Council instituted prior to implementation of the CCJ; An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica, which seeks to amend section 110 of the Constitution to repeal provisions relating to appeals to the Privy Council and replace them with provisions establishing the CCJ as Jamaica’s final court; and An Act to make provisions for the implementation of the agreement establishing the CCJ as both a court of original jurisdiction, to determine cases involving the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and International treaties, as well as a superior court of record with appellate jurisdiction.