The National Youth Council (NYC) has placed its support behind the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and has called on individuals in the region to do the same.
Saint Lucia has communicated its intention to sever ties with the British-owned Privy Council in order to make the CCJ its final appellate court.
While stating that he did not wish to partake in any political debate on the matter, NYC Leader Timothy Ferdinand told Saint Lucia News Online (SNO) that it is rather “sad” that individuals in society fail to put their trust in the people they elect to lead their countries.
Just recently, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) in a press release called on opposition parties in the region to reject the CCJ for fear that if it is installed without the general consent of citizens of the OECS, political interference will be rampant in matters of law which the CCJ handles.
The party’s leader Therold Prudent said in the release that making the CCJ the final court here “would not only serve to devalue the principles of democracy, but could also eventually ensure that both the legal and political systems are controlled” in the region.
But Ferdinand, in an invited comment, told SNO: “It is very sad that … we cannot have faith or trust in the unbiasness of Caribbean citizens in running the Caribbean Court of Justice. That is very sad.”
“…We really need our leaders and individuals in the Caribbean who are of prominence to be very objective in their approach to Caribbean Community,” he further stated.
Ferdinand also noted that he believes in the principles of democracy and that the people should be given an opportunity to decide whether they want the CCJ.
“We should look at or weigh the benefits of going to the people as opposed to taking a political decision or court decision to not go through a referendum…,” he said.
Incoming chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit said recently that he is eager to have all member states acceding to the CCJ as their final appellate court, during his tenure as chairman of the OECS.
Skerrit will assume chairmanship of the OECS for a 12-month period at the next OECS Heads of Government meeting. He said he believes that the CCJ is important for regional development.
In her throne speech in May this year, Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy said that St. Lucia would follow the position adopted by Dominica in its move to become a full member of the Trinidad-based CCJ.
During her speech, she said that St. Lucia would write to the British government on the island’s move to join the CCJ.
Following a court battle in 2013, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal had ruled that St Lucia does not require a referendum before becoming a full member of the CCJ.
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to vote on a particular proposal.