The Opposition’s call came one day after Justice Adrian Saunders was installed as the third president of the CCJ, and upon which the prime Minister heaped lavish encomiums about the high quality of its judgement and its importance to the Single Market process.
Responding to a media query at the closing press conference of the 39th meeting of Conference of Heads of the Caribbean Community held in Montego Bay last week, Prime Minister Holness said his party remained resolute in its stand and was not ready to put the matter before the people.
Saunders, during his inauguration ceremony on Thursday, said he was disappointed that more Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations have not yet signed on to the court's appellate jurisdictions.
Only Four Caribbean countries have made the CCJ their final court – Barbados, Belize and Dominica Guyana.
The PNP, in a release today, stated that “Jamaica should stop loitering on the doorsteps of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom from which we gained our Independence 55 years ago”.
The PNP added that it noted the “confidence expressed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the new CCJ president and the regional organisation, at this week's swearing in ceremony.”
However, it is accused the Holness-led government of standing in the way of the CCJ being Jamaica’s final appellate court.
“Lest we forget, it was in 2003, that the then PNP Government, in an effort that our country may assert some level of true independence and sovereignty in our judicial system, and to have our people enjoy an available and accessible avenue through which they may seek fully to enforce their rights, sought to have Jamaica accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice to replace that of the United Kingdom-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,” said the PNP in its statement.
The PNP said it had even sought to have this evolutionary change accomplished by means of a majority vote of the total membership of each House of Parliament.
“The Jamaica Labour Party has stubbornly set its face against going this route. Several ruses have, sadly, been employed in that effort, including compromising the constitutional membership of Jamaica's Upper House,” added the opposition.
“We encourage the prime minister and his party to use the opportunity provided and do what is right for the benefit of all Jamaicans.”
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