The Government of Jamaica is seeking by these 3 bills the (Amendment) (CaribbeanCourtofJustice) Bill, the Constitution Judicature(Appellate Jurisdiction)(Amendment) Bill, and the CaribbeanCourtofJustice Bill, to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice as our final appellate court.
This will be the government’s second attempt to do so, the first attempt being to do so by an ordinary parliamentary vote.
Similar to the last occasion, there is a bill which gives the agreement which established the CCJ, the force of law in Jamaica (the Caribbean Court of Justice Bill) a bill removing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final court (The Constitution Amendment Caribbean Court of Justice) Bill, specifically at s.13 of the bill), and to deal with procedural matters concerning criminal appeals consequent on the change (The Judicature (Appellate Judicature) (Amendment) Bill.
Unlike the last occasion, the government seeks to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice by a 2/3rd majority of both houses, which would make the CCJ ordinarily entrenched, like the existing Court of Appeal.
The Caribbean Court of Justice is a treaty court, established with the agreement of several Caribbean nations whose track record of cooperation on several Caribbean institutions can be debated.
We, Mr. President, need to appreciate in this debate, that our constitutional arrangement is that the legislature must submit itself to the provision of the constitution, and who is to see to it that this happens?
This can only be done ultimately by our final court, which would have the authority to ensure that laws are not passed that breach the letter, spirit and intention of its provisions.
It is therefore important that the final court enjoys the greatest level of protection if it is truly to fulfill that role. Can we safely leave our final court
subject to a 2/3rd vote of parliamentarians whose mandate gained from a general election, may not necessarily represent the will of the Jamaican people?…READ MORE