Why Jamaica Is at a “Critical” Juncture in Its History

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CCJ vote looms

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica is approaching a “critical juncture in its history,” according to Justice Minister Mark Golding.

That’s because the country’s Senate will soon debate three bills that would amend the constitution to entrench the Caribbean Court of Justice as the country’s final court of appeal.

That comes after Jamaica’s House of Representatives voted earlier this year by a two-thirds majority to do the same.

“I wish to make it clear that we have no reason to be bashful in making a strident call for the adoption of the CCJ as our highest court,” Golding said.

He said that the Port of Spain-seated Caribbean Court of Justice had built an “excellent jurisprudential record” over the first decade of its existence.

“Dr. Lloyd Barnett, perhaps Jamaica’s most eminent constitutional scholar, made this point eloquently in a paper delivered at a conference this year, when he said that a careful study of the CCJ judgements, particularly in the appellate jurisdiction, showed a court that was thoughtful, thorough and analytically sound, socially relevant without being insular, learned without being pedantic, progressive while being appreciative of precedent, culturally sensitive, while appreciative of Commonwealth and international learning,” Golding said. “So, while we admire and respect the eminent Judges of the UK Supreme Court… we say without hesitation that the Judges of the CCJ are at least as erudite and, are better suited to our needs and aspirations as a people.”