St John’s, Antigua (CMC) — The Antigua and Barbuda says it is moving towards joining the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as the island’s final court.
Cabinet has accepted a recommendation from Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Steadroy Benjamin on the issue.
The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council and while most of the Caribbean countries have signed on to the court’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica, are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement.
Antigua and Barbuda Ambassador to CARICOM, Dr Clarence Henry, has been appointed to spearhead the national engagement and consultation to fully explain the rationale for the adoption of the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction.
Benjamin said that the diplomat will head a national committee of stakeholders that will coordinate and manage the national engagement and consultation on this matter.
He said committee would also include representatives from the trade unions, political parties, the private sector, the Bar Association, the Electoral Commission, the Barbuda Council, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Civil Society, and the media.
Benjamin said the committee’s mandate includes preparing the country to determine the matter by way of a referendum at the end of the consultative process.