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  • Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the time has come for Jamaica to exercise its political sovereignty by replacing the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final appellate court.
  • Mr. Hylton noted that the question of access to justice has been one of the major reasons spurring Jamaican’s to move away from final appeals to the Privy Council.
  • After the Bills have been debated in the Lower House, there is a time period of three months before a vote can be taken. The Government needs a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses of Parliament to pass the Bills.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the time has come for Jamaica to exercise its political sovereignty by replacing the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final appellate court.

The Minister was making his contribution to the debate on the CCJ Bills in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 2.

Mr. Hylton noted that the question of access to justice has been one of the major reasons spurring Jamaican’s to move away from final appeals to the Privy Council.

“It cannot be acceptable that I, as a Jamaican citizen, am forced to obtain a visa to visit my constitutionally mandated final court of appeal. Not all CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy) territories have this disadvantage, and further, there is no secret that the process for obtaining such a visa is not only tedious, but also very costly and time consuming,” he said.

Mr. Hylton noted also that there is no guarantee that a visa will be issued.

“The result is that there is no guarantee that a Jamaican citizen appealing to the Privy Council will be able to participate in their appeal by being present at the hearing of the matter. This is unacceptable and inappropriate,” he stated.

Mr. Hylton further argued that only large corporations and the elite few individuals in Jamaica can afford to hire attorneys to file and appear before the Privy Council on their behalf.

This, he said, has resulted in a marked reduction in the number of cases filed from the region before the Privy Council.

Mr. Hylton pointed out that the CCJ, on the other hand, boasts very sophisticated information technology infrastructure that rivals anything to be found in any court in Jamaica and is certainly on par with that of the Privy Council.

“The CCJ has designated a court in each territory and has equipped it with the necessary infrastructure that will permit it to have sittings by videoconferences,” he noted.

The Bills being debated 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, 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.

After the Bills have been debated in the Lower House, there is a time period of three months before a vote can be taken. The Government needs a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses of Parliament to pass the Bills.

 

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