OECS opposition parties urged to reject CCJ

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Prudent.

PRESS RELEASE-The recent announcement by the incoming chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica, that he intends to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the ultimate legal body of all member states by the end of his tenure has drawn a reaction from the leader of the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), Therold Prudent.

In affirming his party’s opposition to joining the CCJ without the express consent of the citizens throughout the OECS territories, Prudent insists that such a move would not only serve to devalue the principles of democracy, but could also eventually ensure that both the legal and political systems are controlled by cowards who are distrustful of the independent judgment of their own people.

In this regard, it would seem unconscionable for any right-thinking person to accept that, after years of hauling political opponents to court and displaying public attitudes which have, at times, seemed disrespectful, intolerant and condescending towards others, Roosevelt Skerrit, Kenny Anthony, Ralph Gonsalves and Denzil Douglas, among others, could be found to be sufficiently credible to single-handedly to approve the CCJ as the final appellate body of the OECS.

To understand the sudden rush to adopt the CCJ as the final appellate court in the next 12 months, one must first understand the school of thought that currently exists among the various labour party governments within the OECS community.

Prudent explained that, for many years now, it has been the belief of certain Caribbean leaders that the CCJ would be an easier legal entity to control than the Privy Council, which has had a very long history of independence and does not conform to the influences or interferences of any political directorate.

Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that, by getting rid of the Privy Council (the only legal body which has, for decades, consistently provided effective checks and balances against government overreach and other tyrannical tendencies within the OECS and the wider Caribbean), the current OECS governments would be in a greater position to seal the legal fate of thousands of citizens who, technically, no longer have access to a truly independent court of last resort. The CCJ would, in effect, become the court of such governments, since they — and not the people — were responsible for providing the legitimate means for it to operate within the OECS.

Prudent suggests that such a move would not only provide the basis for gross political interference within the CCJ but may also even lay the basis for the possible future appointment of partisans, such as Dr. Kenny Anthony and even his controversial Dominican-born attorney, Anthony Astaphan.

There are dark clouds which threaten the continued expansion of democracy within the region, including alterations to the original intent and purpose of the CCJ.

Therefore, in light of these latest developments, it would be irresponsible of any opposition party within the OECS community to ignore calls for a coordinated strategy to push back against these current regimes’ diabolical plans to secure unfettered power. Whether through civil disobedience or mass public protest, resistance must be mounted, Prudent concluded.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. There are checks and balances in place to run the CCJ. All islands have already invested monies to run the CCJ and now it is time to reap the benefits and use this court. From what I understand, the fund is set up in a way that allows the court to run off the investments interest and therefore no more money need to be invested.

    As we all know, the courts president is a Caribbean man of great integrity. He has, and still serves as a judge on the privy counsel (the court lpm is begging to keep) and was United Nations World court judge.

    If the worlds respects our own judges then maybe its time we do the same and value what we have. What is foreign is not always better.

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  2. Not withstanding whether the LPM supports this or not. My peception has always been and continues to be:

    The bottom line is once there is percieved or apparent bias in a system it will always be subject to criticism and as a result may never be effective. Take for instance the uncertainty in the results of the investigations by Caricom (mainly comprised of Jamaican police officers) into the exta-judicial killings in St. Lucia.

    Whether we have the best lawyers or judges in the world is not the issue. The issue is that whether they can remain credible in such a corrupt society. We have had the best legal minds in people like Sir Allen Lewis, Elwin Augustin, Sir Keith Gordon, Garnett Gordon, Allen Louisy, Denis Byron (who served on the Privy Council), etc. Making the likes of Astaphane look like "avocat ti papier". We were still associated to the Privy Council. One post mentioned independence. My question is are we independent from ourselves? Do you trust youself to make an independent jugement of your family or friends or especially your party or where money is involved? We know how this society is so tightly knitted, everybody knows everybody and their business.

    What is the issue now? Is it that we want to have our own laws which may be incompatable with existing international laws? Is it that we need retirement programs for obsolete lawyers/politicians? Or is it a few who want their retirement secured and a way to still have influence on the society? Or is it puley based on economics?

    From these arguments here we see that a trend is emerging that CCJ stands only to benefit people in the legal system. Benefits for The ordinary person it is argued that they may get cheaper litigation but at what expense? The cheaper litigation argument is not a strong one since we see how expensive things are in the Caribbean, even to the point that we most times have to get them from overseas.

    The other glaring disadvantage is that the OECS and Caribbean by extension cannot even finance the courts that now exists. Even though that they said that it would be financed by a fund, who is depositing the money into the fund? The same broke countries, and even if it was foreign countries what is the garantee that they would continue funding our courts?

    My conclusion is that from a legal perspective we have not matured enough to attribute the importance to Justice as it deserves. Judging form the way our legal minds cut and paste legislation from outside without tailoring it to fit our society. The checks and balances are evident in institutions such as Privy Council coming out of the UN, ECHR and ECJ. They also have Judical Committes whos job is to advance and carry out research on the effects of proposed and existing laws. What are our proposed checks and balances?

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    • A lot of your questions can be answered by the ccj. But I guess they have more important things to do rather than to play politics on SNO. That being said, rather than spreading propaganda, you should do some research and ask the right ppl these questions.

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  3. "Annoymous" July 23rd is a year ago. The movement to CCJ started long before 2011. This is what i am arguing. LPM made no statement as against the ruling which was critical. Also the manner in which the matter was taken an argued at the Court of Appeal.

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  4. I can't help but have more respect for the LPM. These people are no chickens. They are not afraid to take a firm stand and stick with it.My hats off to you all!!!!

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  5. LOL I only hope that characters like that gobbling Astaphan from Dominica will not be on the bench. I am a young person we are often chastised for not taking an an interest in such matters. My main concern with the CCJ is the opportunity for bias corruption etc,. The majority of the lawyers in the region especially the OECS are well connected i dear say bosom buddies from UWI. So thats a major issue. The other issue is at what cost to us from an operational stand point i dont have i think to many of the institutions set up to Support CARICOM serves as a dumping ground for person who are politcally connected and there is little tangible evidence of what is being achieved. So in essence i dont think we should pay these Hungry lawyers looking to litteraly sit on a bench and do little for so much. Look how the Judges in Trinidad Complaining about their Compensation.

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  6. My view is that LPM is wrong on this one. I also think that it is wrong for LPM to make joining the ccj a political matter......... I think it is high time that we the Caribbean become independent and move away from our former colonial masters......... The CCJ has proven itself to be independent and is run be world class legal minds. We have in excess of 4000 UWI Law graduates who have the legal knowledge to allow us to be independent and finally, no one has proven aforementioned statements to be false. LPM's arguments are unfounded.

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    • You are so naive about what's cooking in the backroom. You don't even have a clue about what's bubbling in the minds of some sick politicians.
      What are your recommendations? Are you saying that the CCJ should be tossed on the people without their input? Shouldn't they ( THE PEPOLE ) have that right to decide?
      In my view the LPM has taken the right position. This argument is not about how much respect one should have for the thousands of so called intellectuals among us, but about whether the question of CCJ should receive the approval of the people.
      I don't think that the LPM has in no one rejected the concept of the CCJ. What they are rejecting is its political application on the lives of the people .

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        • From what I read, it appears that you are the one making it a political issue. There is nothing political about wanting to give people choices.

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        • Samantha is right. It is your argument which is the politics. You want to overturn a good system to the whims of an institution which churns out Kenny Anthonys. Leave it, it doesn't need meddling with.

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  7. Frankly i have no faith in the ccj.I want to remain with the privy council some of the lawmakers cannot be trusted as it is who you know for a job and justice.Why put us in expense to maintain that system when we are all crying in the caribbean with high fiscal deficits.Come on think.

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    • Read the Gazette and see what the compensation for a Judge/Magistrate is like. I will not argue that their Job is not a challenging as well as difficult one. However i think that as with all other public servants they should b made to bare some of the burdens when the country faces such challenges. Look how legislation was put in place to exempt the judciary from such actions.Some of these same persons will probably end up on the bench of the CCJ so exactly in whose intrest are they going to work.So when some people say leave politics out of it they are being naive

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  8. OECS & CARICOM, CCJ, and CSME is the same thing as saying "Lies, damn lies and statistics". One is not worth the other.

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  9. Wam There

    You are wrong about this one. In defence of Mr Prudent he has commented previously on this issue.If I can recall his postion has not changed.

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  10. Is it any surprise that Kenny and his commie red friends are trying to push this through?

    Do you want hundreds of years of jurisprudence or do you want some country bookie to judge you? The quality is clearly inferior, but that suits Kenny - LESS SCRUTINY ON HIM AND HIS GOONS

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  11. I just wish that LPM was the government. Lots of things would be guided by our constitution. This is in preference to the dictatorial modus operandi of this confounded SLP shamming and shameless communist masquerade.

    Once again, poor Helen is cursed with yet another voted-in coalition of SLP revulsive and callous incompetents.

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    • Wam There, I wish you would pay more attention. Read a previous article from the LPM

      CCJ question should be attached to the next ballot – LPM
      LPM - Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 at 9:33 AM - See more at: https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/ccj-question-should-be-attached-to-the-next-ballot/#sthash.0EVAXAiK.dpuf

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  12. Prudent you are a little late my friend. Why didn't you mount this campaign when the Court of Appeal ruled that our Constitution had an error. The strategy used by the government was to have people from the AG chambers represent their interests and and their friends from the Bar Association to represent the Bar Association. Who represented the citizens of this country? For sure it wasn't you.

    A few wrote newsspin. Even Ogilvy a man who was expelled from ST. Lucia wrote about it in the press. Not one other prominent person did.
    A wise man would recognise trouble from the onset. Is it possible that you have just now figured this out all by yourself or you were just weighing it on your political balance and waiting for the right time?

    The truth must be told to the people as soon as it becomes apparent and not at the political will of politicians. We are generating a culture where it is only when certain people say things that it is publicized or recognised. You have probably found out through the grape vine that Dr Anthony wants to be Chairman. Do Whats RIght and educate the people not use them to achieve your own ends.

    What is wrong will always be wrong. You heard the Governor General in her Throne Speech allude to the fact that government will try to rush this process you didn't say a word. PM said it too,not a word. Denzil Douglas all whereever he is and you now have a problem? I don't understand.

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