JIS News

Debate on Bills relating to the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has been postponed until a motion filed in the Supreme Court by Opposition Leader, Edward Seaga, contesting the constitutionality of the Bills, is concluded.
Speaking on the matter at Friday’s (Feb.13) sitting of the Senate, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator A.J. Nicholson said, “in view of this development, I would need some time to consider the effect, if any. and I would prefer that the start of the debate be postponed until further notice”.
A February 26 date has been set for the preliminary court hearing and the Attorney General indicated that the debate on the Bills would begin soon after.”I wish to make it abundantly clear that we do not agree that the mere filing of a claim of this kind can be the basis for delaying the process of legitimate Parliamentary business,” he stated, arguing that such action could paralyse the work of Parliament.
The Justice Minister also chided the Leader of Opposition for stalling the debate on the Bills, noting that if he believed that the legislation was unconstitutional, he should have submitted his claims to Parliament.
“You can’t move into the courts and ask the courts to do your work. Come here and debate them and we are prepared to meet every single point that you can make on any of these issues that you have filed, but come to the correct forum,” he said.
Senator Nicholson also informed the Senate that the Government was not willing to delay the debate for any lengthy period. “I wish to make it clear, so that there is no misunderstanding of the Government’s position, that we will not be agreeable to consenting to any lengthy delay. This matter has been on the public agenda of over 30 years and during that time, it has received the support, in principle, of both the Government party and the Opposition party and I venture to say the vast majority of the Jamaican people”, he stated.
He however added that the Government was still willing to go further for some form of consensus on the issue. “We have been tolerant . we have been a model of forbearance as far as the debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice is concerned. We are willing to go further at this eleventh hour in the search for some form of consensus”, he declared.

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