CARIBBEAN: Trinidad president urges region to dump Privy Council

By Caribbean360

anthony-carmonaCARIBBEAN360 – Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona has expressed frustration that his country and other CARICOM states have not replaced the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their final authority in legal matters.

Though 12 of the 15 CARICOM territories have signed the agreement establishing the CCJ, which was launched in 2005 as the final arbiter in legal disputes among and within regional members, only Barbados, Guyana, Dominica and Belize have accepted this court as the end decision-maker.

Carmona, who served as a High Court Judge before being appointed as President in 2013, expressed his frustration in Barbados during a presentation on Redefining Caribbean Pride for the 21st Century Youth, to University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, undergraduate organization, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow.

“Why have we yet not all subscribed to the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice?” he asked

President Carmona said he sees acceptance by all territories of CCJ to be the court of last resort as another step towards fortifying the Caribbean identity.

“Perhaps the day will finally come when we can all take pride in, and responsibility for, defining, shaping, writing and ultimately, rewriting our own jurisprudence and laws in the context of our own peculiarities and the relationships among our own member states. The arguments for a common jurisprudence have been exhausted, but are not exhaustible.”

CCJ judges are predominantly of Caribbean origin, and according to a CARICOM document, “judges appointed to the CCJ are evaluated on the basis of wide-ranging criteria that include experience, high moral character, intellectual and analytical ability, sound judgment, integrity and an understanding of people and society”.

Carmona believes that with the majority of CARICOM nations yet to make that constitutional move towards replacement of the Privy Council with the CCJ for their citizens, creates a deficit “that mitigates against the spirit of the Caribbean integration movement”.

“There have been many failed attempts at an integrated Caribbean in the past, with just a few making successful strides in this regard. Today, Caribbean societies are confronting even greater difficulties in treating with such issues as crime and security, health issues, and, of increasing importance, the danger posed by climate change. The need to pool resources has therefore never been more urgent.

“There needs to be an embracing approach by all leaders. We must not be concerned about what we can get from each other but rather how we can help each other,” he said. (Barbados Today)

 

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4 comments

  1. Mr. Carmona can you please see how best you and your government can FIX the crime rate in T&T???

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  2. The article states: "Carmona believes that with the majority of CARICOM nations yet to make that constitutional move towards replacement of the Privy Council with the CCJ for their citizens, creates a deficit “that mitigates against the spirit of the Caribbean integration movement”."

    President Carmona should read his history as to the role of the PCO in our parliamentary system. Carmona is President of a Republic, with a structure similar to the United States, which is different from the structure of a Commonwealth country with respect to governance.

    He should start with understanding the fundamentals, such as articulated in the book
    https://books.google.ca/books?id=SGmQ7Z-aQ1cC&pg=PA167&lpg=PA167&dq=www.govt.lc+privy+council+office&source=bl&ots=ev7mz8pkL8&sig=cFKl2KBhxvjqvnhxKJYkQZNHXBg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLxIvC-cDTAhUh04MKHQ5OCzcQ6AEIVDAJ#v=onepage&q=www.govt.lc%20privy%20council%20office&f=falsethe fundamentals

    His views are blatantly extra-territorial in nature and have little to do with "Caribbean integration".

    Further, as a previous commenter colloquially wrote, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Rather, President Carmona's comments resemble the haughty and baseless postering of a school bully who is insecure as to his credibility and where he wishes that he would like to stand in the pecking order of nations.

    The article also quotes Carmona as saying: "Today, Caribbean societies are confronting even greater difficulties in treating with such issues as crime and security, health issues, and, of increasing importance, the danger posed by climate change. The need to pool resources has therefore never been more urgent."

    In other multi-lateral trade agreements around the world, the issues that he states such as trade block agreement on a minimal level of harmonization regarding crime and justice and health issues ave never been an issue that has required raising the specter of extra-territoriality on the part of partners. Climate change with respect to integration is somewhat a red herring in that it is not a front page deal-breaker in economic integration, and is negotiated after the fact in associated umbrella side agreements that take into account the unique circumstances that each nation faces on the issue. For example, T&T's approach and targets will be fundamentally different from those of SLU given their vulnerable sectors, which SLU does not have (i.e. oil production/refining).

    President Carmona is very conspicuously lacking in his comments in omitting what historically has been one of the key areas that have to be laid out in economic integration --- That is, a trade dispute resolution mechanism. This is very disappointing and somewhat disturbing. Member nations of most every individual trading block never come to the table each and all as "equal partners." Without establishment of an agreed to mechanism for resolution trade disputes that will inevitably arise, attempts at economic integration become lame and dysfunctional due to individual member states raising issues such as subsidies, duties/tariffs, and trade dumping.

    In conclusion, President Carmona appears to have been clearly not adequately been prepped by his staff and his Ministry in being able to show a precise grasp of the high-level fundamentals and lessons-learned globally on regional economic integration.

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  3. CCJ must not let TRINIDAD dictate the course the islands must take. The privy council should not be replaced unless the justice system is alive and well on those islands, last time i checked there was no justice on those islands.CCJ IS NOT BROKEN DONT TRY TO FIX IT. YOU WILL BE SORRY YOU DID.

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    • Ridiculous. Guyana, Barbados, Belize, Dominica have all gone ahead to have the CCJ as their final court. CCJ is located in Trinidad and Trinidad still has the Privy Council as final appellate court. So tell me how exactly are they DICTATING the course the "Islands" must take?

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