An historic day in Saint Lucia

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An historic day in Saint Lucia

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, will be recorded as an historic day in Saint Lucia.

The Court of Appeal heard a reference from the Attorney General on the proper and correct construction of provisions of the Constitution which govern the right of appeal to Her Majesty in Council, popularly known as the Privy Council.

The Attorney General’s position was that unlike the Constitutions of Saint Christopher and Nevis and Dominica, there exist in the Constitution of Saint Lucia, either (i) doubt in the construction of or (ii) an obvious mistake in section 41 (7) (a) of the Constitution, and as a result, the doubt or error ought to be corrected by judicial interpretation in accordance with the law.

If the Court agrees with the Attorney General, the path to determining whether Saint Lucia should continue with appeals to the Privy Council or move towards the Caribbean Court of Justice, will be made clear.

In a surprising turn of events, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Stephenson King, vigorously opposed the Attorney General’s Reference.

Previously and while Hon. King was Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Chairman of the Cabinet, the Cabinet by Conclusion No 371 of 2010 made on the 6th May 2010, accepted that there existed an ‘anomaly’ or error in the very same provisions of the Constitution.

The Cabinet of which Hon. King was part therefore decided to seek the advice from the Court of Appeal on whether a referendum was required. Nothing was, however, done prior to the election.

The Attorney General’s present reference, which was initiated after the General Election by the present Cabinet of Saint Lucia, sought the advice of the Court of Appeal on whether there exists an error or to use the word of the earlier Cabinet Conclusion, an ‘anomaly’.

The Bar Association of Saint Lucia presented two very different submissions. Some members made submissions which paralleled or supported those of the Leader of the Opposition.

In contrast, other Members of the Bar, led by Mr. Hilford Deterville QC, advanced submissions premised on an opinion prepared by the distinguished Caribbean constitutional scholar, Dr. Lloyd Barnett.

Dr Barnett accepted that there was a drafting lapse or printing error which could and should be remedied by judicial interpretation. The Attorney General now awaits the advice of the Court of Appeal.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. are we sure we ready to switch our appeal courts to the caribbean courts of justice, if its one thing we learning from this worldwide recession is how corrupt previous and present governments are/were. Now the new phenomena in which the upper echlon who slide their way into politics are now heading to sit on those benches of the caribbean courts, they should put in a clause which would bar anyone who held political office in the past to sit on appeals court. We are heading a path which i think not alot of thought has been placed on the individuals serving. dont get me wrong i am all for self suffiency in the caribbean but we need to proceed with caution.

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    • I agree with you, but what is happening in the supreme court (where former politicians now sit) cannot happen in the ccj as there are things in place to prohibit such.

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      • So my question is; The CCJ is based in Trinidad, why hasn't Trinidad acceded yet, do they know something that we don't? Karmla was Kenny's student and protege, but she seems smarter than Kenny.

        Anyway, both Kenny and King are forked tongued and we shouldn't trust them cause they keep singing different tunes at different times. And one of Kenny's pastimes is pissing on constitutions, he changed the Oath of Allegiance and aslo changed Labour's constitution to make himself 'leader for life.' The man is dangerous and politics is evil.

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