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Dominica to embrace the appellate jurisdiction of CCJ

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica

Dominica – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says he is determined to lead his country in embracing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its appellate jurisdiction, and in this regard has moved to iron out some constitutional matters affecting the wider Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

“We have indicated publicly the government’s intention of recognising the court in its appellate jurisdiction. Clearly there is a procedure within the Constitution we have to follow. We have to go to the Parliament and get the two-thirds majority…but there is a process of the passage of the amendment,” says Skerrit.

However, he noted that that there was still need for discussions with Britain “to allow us to go to the CCJ if not we have to go to a referendum. “We have to negotiate our accession to the CCJ with the British,” he added.

Prime Minister Skerrit told reporters that the different constitutional requirements within the sub-region have also affected the ability of the OECS countries to move towards the CCJ as a single body.

He said the OECS already enjoys a “single judicial jurisdiction” and he did not want to create the situation where “Dominica would have gone and the rest would have to remain with the Privy Council”.

He said that while Dominica and St. Kitts have the similar provision in their constitutions, St. Lucia for example is seeking an advisory on what are the intents of the drafters of the constitution while Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines would need to hold a referendum.

“So you have different countries having different requirements in so far as the constitution allows. But we have taken a decision at the OECS that we should all seek to recognise the court and the intention is that St. Kitts and Dominica because of the similar provision would move ahead with a recognition of the court.”

But he said that Dominica still maintains the position that talks should be held with Britain together, adding “it makes no sense St. Kitts goes, Dominica goes and everybody follows.

“We need to have a discussion with the British on this to indicate to them our intent and to get their understanding,” he added.

The CCJ was established in 2001 by regional governments to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.

However, while most of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping are members of the CCJ’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize have signed on to its appellate jurisdiction.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica

Dominica – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says he is determined to lead his country in embracing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its appellate jurisdiction, and in this regard has moved to iron out some constitutional matters affecting the wider Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

“We have indicated publicly the government’s intention of recognising the court in its appellate jurisdiction. Clearly there is a procedure within the Constitution we have to follow. We have to go to the Parliament and get the two-thirds majority…but there is a process of the passage of the amendment,” says Skerrit.

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However, he noted that that there was still need for discussions with Britain “to allow us to go to the CCJ if not we have to go to a referendum. “We have to negotiate our accession to the CCJ with the British,” he added.

Prime Minister Skerrit told reporters that the different constitutional requirements within the sub-region have also affected the ability of the OECS countries to move towards the CCJ as a single body.

He said the OECS already enjoys a “single judicial jurisdiction” and he did not want to create the situation where “Dominica would have gone and the rest would have to remain with the Privy Council”.

He said that while Dominica and St. Kitts have the similar provision in their constitutions, St. Lucia for example is seeking an advisory on what are the intents of the drafters of the constitution while Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines would need to hold a referendum.

“So you have different countries having different requirements in so far as the constitution allows. But we have taken a decision at the OECS that we should all seek to recognise the court and the intention is that St. Kitts and Dominica because of the similar provision would move ahead with a recognition of the court.”

But he said that Dominica still maintains the position that talks should be held with Britain together, adding “it makes no sense St. Kitts goes, Dominica goes and everybody follows.

“We need to have a discussion with the British on this to indicate to them our intent and to get their understanding,” he added.

The CCJ was established in 2001 by regional governments to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court.

However, while most of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping are members of the CCJ’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize have signed on to its appellate jurisdiction.