Letters to the Editor

Come clean on the CCJ

Wednesday, August 01, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

Last week Justice Minister Mark Golding adamantly declared that the PNP will present bills for Jamaica's entry into the Caribbean Court of Justice by the end of August. Although the Privy Council is embedded into our constitution as a safety mechanism to keep us ultimately free of political wrongdoing, the PNP refuses to get permission for the country's entry to the CCJ from the people whom it represents. I find the rush to the CCJ scary and appalling.

At the very least, the PNP owes a reasonably honest explanation of how the move will help us rather than deceitful lies. Rather, the PNP has presented reasoning which baffles even the most innocent minds and makes its haste appear at best evasive. For example, the PNP claims that joining the CCJ is part of our Independence process. However, Trinidad is not part of Jamaica, so moving our final court of appeal from London to Port of Spain itself does not make us any more independent than we already are; the Privy Council is located in one country overseas and the CCJ is located in another.

We are also told that it would be more convenient for Jamaicans to go to Port of Spain rather than London; that too is a fallacy. Currently, the only airline with direct service from Kingston to Port of Spain is Caribbean Airlines which does not offer daily flights from Kingston to the Trinidad capital. I doubt that the CCJ will schedule cases based on availability of flights from Kingston. A person would have to hope and pray that his case falls on or near available flights, whereas Jamaicans are able to fly to London practically any day of the week and arrive in London even the day of their court hearing.

Also, while a person could fly to London any day and return the next day if he chooses, that liberty does not exist going to Port of Spain, because Caribbean Airlines does not offer daily service back to Kingston. Besides the cost of airfare, the traveller will incur extra expenses for food, accommodation, car rental (Port of Spain is not nearly as cosmopolitan as London), while awaiting a return flight. Perhaps the PNP is thinking we could fly to Miami daily then onwards to Trinidad, but that would require us to "beg a visa" from the Americans which is contrary to the independence the CCJ promises. I beg the PNP to come clean on the CCJ.

Ian Martin




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