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(CMC) – President of the Trinidad and Tobago based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, says the court will continue ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies despite the outcome of referenda held in Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda earlier this week.
“While the news is not what we hoped for, we respect the people of both nations and their decision. The court will naturally continue ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies in each of these countries, and the wider Caribbean, through the JURIST project and otherwise.”
In both Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda, the turnout of voters was low.
In Grenada, of 21, 979 votes cast, some 9,846 persons voted to adopt the CCJ as the final Court of Appeal, while in Antigua and Barbuda, the margin was a little closer. There were 9,234 votes against and 8,509 votes in favour of the adoption of the CCJ.
“These results will not, of course, deter us from serving with distinction those nations that currently send their final appeals to us. As well, the Court will also continue to process and hear applications from all CARICOM States, and from CARICOM itself, in our Original Jurisdiction, and our justice reform work in the region will also continue,” the CCJ President said.
He noted that in addition, there is an Original Jurisdiction case currently before the Court originating from Grenada.
The JURIST Project, which is a multiyear justice reform project being implemented by the Caribbean Court of Justice on behalf of the Conference of Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM states, is working on a Sexual Offences Model Court to be housed at the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda in 2019.
The CCJ Academy of Law is also sceduled to host a legal conference in Jamaica in December at which jurists from both countries, as well as the wider Caribbean, are participating.
Justice Saunders stated, “one of the positives that came out of this exercise is that there was sustained public education in both nations and the conversation about the CCJ intensified. We can see the fact that there was more interest in our website, ccj.org, and on our social media platforms, on LinkedIn and Twitter. As we begin to implement our Strategic Plan for the 2019-2023, which includes a renewed focus on public education, we will certainly be taking advantage of the increased audience, and the interest that has been piqued, to provide more information about the work of the Court.”