Joint Parliamentary Committee to Consider CCJ Bill


The House of Representatives has referred a Bill providing for the Caribbean Court of Justice Original Jurisdiction Act 2005, to a joint Parliamentary Committee for further consideration.
Speaking in the House yesterday (March 1), Leader of Government Business, Dr. Peter Phillips said this decision has been taken because the matter was of considerable significance and urgency, and should be given full consideration.
The proposed Committee consists of Development Minister, Dr. Paul Robertson; Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell; Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, K.D Knight; Member of Parliament for St. Mary Central, Dr. Maurice Guy; Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Central, Sharon Hay-Webster; and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Western, Charles Learmond.
Opposition members are, Spokesman on National Security, Derrick Smith; Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Delroy Chuck; Member of Parliament for North Eastern St. Catherine, Abe Dabdoub; Member of Parliament for North Central St. Andrew, Karl Samuda and Member of Parliament for East Central St. James, Edmond Bartlett.
Dr. Phillips said the Committee would sit jointly with a similar committee from the Senate and a report given by the end of next week. The House Leader said this was in a bid to enable the House to pass the legislation and fulfill the commitments in relation to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
On February 14, the Government announced that the scheduled signing by Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica to mark the inauguration of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) on Saturday, February 19 had been deferred.
Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman speaking at a post Cabinet press briefing said the signing was postponed to allow Jamaica’s position to be regularized and make allowances for the other CARICOM member states to be able to participate.The decision came on the heels of the Privy Council’s ruling, that the legislation passed by the Jamaican Parliament towards the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) was unconstitutional.
The Bill seeks to enact legislation for the implementation of the provisions of the agreement establishing the CCJ to which Jamaica is a party, which confer original jurisdiction on the Court.
It also provides for the establishment of the CCJ as a Court of Original Jurisdiction to hear and determine matters relating to the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas establishing the Caribbean Community, including the Single Market and Economy and applying applicable rules of international law.
The Bill also makes the way for the establishment of a Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, which will be responsible for the appointment of judges other than the President of the Court, and for making a recommendation for the appointment of the President.
In the meantime, the House approved a proposal to establish a joint Parliamentary Committee to consider a Bill providing for the implementation of The Criminal Justice Plea Negotiation and Agreement Act 2005.
Dr. Phillips, who is also Minister of National Security said the decision to concur further in committee was due to the far-reaching implications of the Act.
The Minister said the Bill provides for plea negotiations to be arrived at between the accused persons and or their legal representatives and the Director of Public Prosecutions in respect of criminal charges that may apply.
The Committee comprises Dr. Phillips; Health Minister, John Junor; Industry and Tourism State Minister, Dr. Wykeham McNeill; National Security State Minister, Derrick Kellier; Member of Parliament for St. Mary Central, Dr. Maurice Guy; Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Derrick Smith; Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Delroy Chuck and Member of Parliament for West Central St. James, Clive Mullings.
This Committee is to sit jointly with a similar committee from the Senate.

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