Barbados elections held CCJ’s hand from responding to PM’s exit promises

first_img– Comments “unfortunate” – Guyana’s retired ChancellorBy Shemuel FanfairIncoming President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, has indicated that the CCJ would eventually respond to statements made by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in relation to his country withdrawing from the regional body should he win the elections.Justice Saunders made the remarks at Duke Lodge in Georgetown during the University of Guyana’s fourth hosting of its Conversation on Law and Society.Saunders gave a well-received lecture on rule of law and the Caribbean Court of Justice at Thursday’s event. However, during the conversation aspect of the night’s proceedings, the CCJ President-designate was questioned directly if a CARICOM (Caribbean Community) member state would be justified if it felt that the CCJ is being adjudicated by politicians in robes, as per the Barbados PM’sJustice Adrian Saunderscomments made in St Michael, Barbados.Justice Saunders responded by indicating that the CCJ had been inclined to respond, but avoided such, as the response “could be misinterpreted and used for political purposes, so we didn’t think it prudent to respond…but at some point we will,” he said.The much celebrated legal luminary informed the gathering that CCJ Justices reviewed the footage of the Barbados Prime Minister’s comments and found “factual inaccuracies,” but noted that the election period was considered before a response was made.“Our litigation is one where you have winners and losers at the end of the day, and a losing litigant is not likely to be happy with the court. My colleagues and I listened very carefully to a clip of what the Prime Minister or Barbados said, and there were just some factual inaccuracies which we thought that we would have responded to, but we thought that we shouldn’t respond in the height of an election campaign,” Justice Saunders stressed.The Barbadian Prime Minister had cited disrespect from the Port of Spain-based court and the limited number of cases being brought before it. He had also stated that he would ensure that Barbados does not return to the Privy Council, which in effect means the Barbados Appeal Court could be made the country’s final court.Meanwhile, retired Chancellor of the Judiciary in Guyana, Justice Carl Singh, deemed the political comments unfortunate, but reminded the gathering at Duke Lodge on Thursday that politicians are subject to the people of a country.“We have heard some unfortunate comments from politicians with respect to the CCJ, and much was said about the politicians’ will; but we, as a region, need to understand that the politician’s will is controlled by the will of the people,” the former head of Guyana’s Judiciary observed.Local commentator and Attorney Christopher Ram had also disagreed with the PM’s statement.“I think that is most unfortunate, because we should be trying to develop some kind of Caribbean jurisprudence, which admittedly the CCJ has not been able to do, or has failed to do,” he told <> earlier this week.Other areas the conversation at Duke Lodge focused on were the region’s justice system, sentencing policies, and the need for political non-interference in the judiciary. Thursday’s event was facilitated by University Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith. The conversations seek to have participants and the public examine the social implications of legal issues in a way that ideas could be shared to contribute to positive change.The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, but while many of the 15-member Caricom countries are signatories to the court’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica are members of its Appellate jurisdiction.last_img

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