Crime, strategy and the Caribbean Court of Jusice
Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow has assumed the chairmanship of CARICOM, succeeding Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.
The six-month chairmanship began Jan. 1.
“Our resolution is to continue to strengthen our integration movement to deliver ever-increasing benefits to the people of our Community,” Barrow said in a statement. “We will continue our quest to improve our standard of living through providing a safe, viable and prosperous Caribbean Community. In so doing we will build on our successes and will be moving forward with a number of initiatives to achieve that aim.”
Barrow said that push comes “in the face of the sternest economic test that our Member States have had to face in recent memory.”
That, he said, increases the community’s determination to implement its new Strategic Plan, which is designed to “build our economic, environmental, social and technological resilience to assist us in the drive towards growth and sustainable development.”
Barrow also said the Caribbean Court of Justice was a “relevant factor” in the lives of people living in CARICOM.
“The creation of our own jurisprudence will help define us as a people, and the excellent, well-reasoned judgements which have been the hallmark of the CCJ are ample proof of the intellectual quality of the legal minds of this Community,” he said. “During my stewardship of the Community, I look forward to more Member States joining the four of us in the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.”
Indeed, Belize was one of the few early adopters of that court; much of the region still uses the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as its final court of appeal.
Barrow said the region would also increase its efforts on crime fighting.
“The planned activities will focus on curbing anti-social behaviour and channeling energies into productive endeavor,” he said. “We must all be involved in a concerted attempt to arrest crime and violence in our Community and building the secure society which we desire.”
Because of its geographic location, Belize has the unique position of being a member of both CARICOM and the Central American Integration System; it’s not clear whether Barrow will be looking to find any ways to bridge the two systems.