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  • Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, is urging the Opposition to make available, a copy of a letter, confirming that the Privy Council is available to sit in Jamaica.
  • Senator Golding was addressing a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday (October 26).
  • At Thursday’s (October 22) sitting of the Upper House, Senator Malahoo-Forte, in her contribution to the debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), read into the records of the Senate, a letter, which she claims, confirms the willingness of the Privy Council to sit in Jamaica.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, is urging the Opposition to make available, a copy of a letter, confirming that the Privy Council is available to sit in Jamaica.

“The Opposition needs to produce this letter, which apparently they have, which is an official letter ,without any further delay, and I think it’s quite proper that Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte has been suspended from attending the Senate until she does so,” he said.

Senator Golding was addressing a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday (October 26).

At Thursday’s (October 22) sitting of the Upper House, Senator Malahoo-Forte, in her contribution to the debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), read into the records of the Senate, a letter, which she claims, confirms the willingness of the Privy Council to sit in Jamaica.

The Government, in its argument for the adoption of the CCJ as the country’s final court, said that because it is an itinerant tribunal, moving from one region to the other, this would reduce the cost to Jamaicans and ensure access to justice.

Both the President of the Senate, Senator Floyd Morris and Senator Golding requested a copy of the letter and the President further directed Senator Malahoo-Forte to provide the Senate with a copy.

When the latter was not produced at Friday’s (Oct. 23) sitting of the Chamber, the President, in accordance with the rules of the Standing Orders, proceeded to successfully move a motion for the Senator to be suspended until the document is provided.

Mr. Golding said he is “anxious to see what this letter says,” noting that the suspension will be lifted once the letter is produced.

“From our point of view (the Privy Council) is not an itinerant court; it is not set up to sit outside the United Kingdom (UK). It is true that they have occasionally sat outside of the UK; I believe they have done it in Mauritius and the Bahamas. Those were ad hoc appearances set up to hear particular matters, and not to dispose of the entire list of cases that were before them from the Bahamas and, were indeed, at great expense to the Government and People of the Bahamas,” he noted.

Senator Golding explained that the expenses included the payment of first class tickets to and from the UK for the five judges and their support staff, provision of accommodation, logistical arrangements and the provision of security.

“We don’t feel that those ad hoc arrangements…. constitute proper arrangements for affording access to justice. The CCJ is established to provide access to the people of the region. Its rules contemplate it moving from territory to territory to hear cases,” Senator Golding said.

The Senate, on October 16, started its debate on the three Bills, which seek to make the CCJ Jamaica’s finale appellate court.

The Bills 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.