JLP senator’s CCJ call dangerously frightening — Nicholson

Monday, October 28, 2013

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LEADER of Government Business in the Senate, A J Nicholson has lashed Opposition Senator Alexander Williams for his call for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to be deeply entrenched in the constitution.


Nicholson, in a letter to the editor yesterday, described the call as "dangerously frightening in the extreme", saying entrenchment in the constitution would require an unnecessary referendum costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.


Following is the full text of the letter:


"As you can well imagine, for me, Senator Alexander Williams' pronouncement in the Senate on Friday last is dangerously frightening in the extreme.


"He admits up front that 'matters relating to the judiciary should not be exposed to the political hustings'."


"The attorney/senator could hardly deny that, for that is the core reason why no former colony of Britain has established its final court of appeal to replace the Privy Council by means of a referendum, which, as Williams realises, is essentially a political exercise.


"But then, the partisan political clothing takes over. Come hell or high water, the JLP insists on a referendum, no matter what that might do to our judiciary.


"There is, of course, no requirement, on any score, of a referendum for Jamaica to have the CCJ as our final court of appeal, and for the court to be entrenched in our constitution. And the Privy Council itself has said so.


"So, where does Senator Williams' partisan political leaning take him? To an utterly new call for the CCJ to be DEEPLY ENTRENCHED in our constitution, which, constitutionally, requires a referendum for that to be accomplished.


"By that means, Senator Alexander Williams ('Smart Alec'?), brushing aside his premise of historical soundness, proceeds to declare: to hell with the Privy Council ruling, which was itself sought by the JLP; to hell with the hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars required for the holding of an unnecessary referendum, inter alia; we, the JLP Opposition, by any means necessary, insist on a referendum, even if voting for the Bills which are soon to come to the Senate will grant our people ready access to their final court -- a privilege denied to the vast majority of Jamaicans for centuries.


"Oh, the pernicious power of partisan political practice!"



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