Letters to the Editor

Jamaican is old enough to make its own decisions

Friday, April 25, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

The Caribbean court of Justice (CCJ) is nothing more than a sham. There is no doubt that we in Jamaica have grown up judicially and are very capable of governing ourselves. Setting laws as well as implementing them are sometimes thorny, but neverthe less are accomplishments under our belt.

The push for the CCJ, in my view, is not a big enough step for us as a solid democracy. The CCJ in the crux of it is still supporting the culture of dependency on foreign handlers.

Regionally, Caricom has set up several organisations to promote integration and interdependency. Whilst not a bad idead in theory, we as a region still lack the maturity to be instructional and demonstrative in moving towards set goals with purpose. So confidence, in most of its structures, is certainly not where we would expect. The CCJ is one such move that has not earned my confidence.

Some of our neighbours have already gone the route of the CCJ, but what would be the benefits for Jamaica to join? Can anyone name for me five good reasons we should? Outside of the notion that we want to symbolically show that we are an integrated region nothing else is worth it.

Some may say that we are too dependent on the UK Privy Council, but surely the CCJ is not the answer. This reason, in my humble opinion, is not good enough for us to surrender our sovereignty to a CCJ.

The relationships between the countries in the regions are fragile at best. We only need to look at our manufactures and the problems they have to do business in other Caricom states.

We can even take a look at the recent ruling by the said CCJ in the Shanique Myrie case. Has Barbados paid over sums owed by the court order yet? On the contrary, the ruling has been met with ire, judging from the utterances of the heads of state.

As a Jamaican I want to have nothing to do with the CCJ. As it stands, it is not worthy of us submitting our laws, scholars and years of training, investing and developing of the legal minds and fraternity. Jamaica's lawyers are by far some of the best in the world and we need only look to the quality that the local universities are turning out. How many international debating/moot competition have we won again?

The Government of Jamaica should, without a doubt, look to remove the Privy Council as the final appellate court. However, at this time, where is stands, the Caribbean Court of Justice is not the replacement.

The suggestion of the Opposition to throw the decision out to the Jamaican people is not far-fetched, though expensive. It is certainly a preposition that should be taken seriously. This decision is not a closed-door one and should be inclusive of the practitioners and those who interact with the judiciary on a daily basis.

Is it too far-fetched to have our own president or king and entrenching our laws to give that person the prescribe powers that is necessary? This democracy is soon52 years old and is old enough to make its own final decision on any matter that governs its people. We need to rethink, or better yet just think outside of the box of the CCJ. The ideas and possibilities should be discussed fully with the people. We do not need a Caribbean court to tell us how to interpret our own laws.

Omaro Mazlyn

omaromazlyn@gmail.com

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