President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Honourable Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders says “acceding to the regional court should be a normal, natural progression.”
Addressing a town hall meeting on the CCJ last evening at Frenches House organized by the SVG Bar Association in collaboration with the CCJ, Mr. Justice Saunders said that since been established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, the merit of the CCJ is widely known.
While many of the 15-member CARICOM countries are signatories to the CCJ’s Original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica are members of its Appellate jurisdiction.
Replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ was among changes to the Constitution that citizens here rejected in a November 2009 referendum.
In July, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves indicated that he is prepared to work to make the CCJ this country’s final court of appeal.
And Justice Saunders in his presentation last night, pointed out that the best source of knowledge about the CCJ would be to find out from those countries which have had judgements delivered by the regional court.
According to Justice Saunders some of the arguments given as to why countries like St. Vincent and the Grenadines should stay with the Privy Council, are rooted in fear.
Meanwhile, the President of the CCJ made it clear that there is no political interference in the selection of the court’s judges.