Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Legislation for CCJ to be Tabled and Debated by Year End

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Prime Minister The Most Hon. P. J. Patterson

Prime Minister P. J. Patterson has said that the requisite laws to allow for the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), are to be tabled in Parliament and debated by the end of this calendar year.

Mr. Patterson made the announcement at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, yesterday (November 17), where he gave a report on the Ninth Special Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government, which was held in Castries, St. Lucia from November 13-14.

"It is necessary for all Parliaments to pass legislation to enable the CCJ to come into being. Our Cabinet has approved that draft legislation and it will be tabled in Parliament for debate before the end of this calendar year, with the expectation that the requisite legislation will be passed in all Parliaments no later than January 2004," the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees to administer the funds of the CCJ is now in force, also the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, except for the President of the Court, who will be the Chairman of the Commission.

Mr. Patterson, who is also Chairman of CARICOM, explained that the Commission would be recruiting the President of the Court. He said that the post and job description would be advertised in the 54 Commonwealth countries.

He explained that this is being done, because "we want to secure the best available Counsel to be President of the Court".

The Prime Minister said that when the President of the Court is recruited, he or she would then become Chairman of the Regional Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and the Commission would proceed to recommend the appointment of the remaining judges.

On funding of the Court, Mr. Patterson said that the Caribbean Development Bank "has assured us that from the enquiries that it has received from financial groups, it is extremely confident that it is going to raise the capital of US$100 million to fund the Court".

When established, the CCJ will replace the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, as the final Court of Appeal