Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has called on the people of Saint Lucia to call or message their Members of Parliament with the message – ‘No referendum, no CCJ.’
The United Workers Party (UWP) leader disclosed that on Tuesday, the Government of Saint Lucia would head to parliament to amend the constitution, allowing the Caribbean Court of Justice to replace the Privy Council as Saint Lucia’s final court of appeal.
But Chastanet wrote on Facebook that the process is hasty, without sufficient public consultation or information dissemination regarding the pros and cons.
” How many of you can confidently say that you know or understand how this move will impact you?” The former Prime Minister said.
“Since being founded in 2001, out of 15 countries who initially signed on, only 4 countries in the region have made the full transition to the CCJ serving as their final court of appeal,” the Micoud South MP noted.
“The Government of St Vincent & the Grenadines in 2009, and the Governments of Grenada and Antigua & Barbuda in 2018 all held referendums on this issue regarding the CCJ,” Chastanet observed.
He said a Saint Lucia referendum on the CCJ would ensure the decision is democratic and transparent.
“While it is ultimately up to the government to decide whether to adopt the CCJ as the final court of appeal, this decision should not be made without the input and consent of the people. A referendum would allow for a public debate on the issue, with both sides of the argument being heard and considered,” Chastanet stated.
In addition, he asserted that a referendum would help to increase public awareness and understanding of the issue, as many people in Saint Lucia may not be fully aware of what the CCJ is and how it works.
According to Chastanet, by holding a referendum, the government can ensure that the public is fully informed about the issue before making a decision.
The former Prime Minister also declared that a referendum would help to ensure that the decision is seen as legitimate and binding.
“If the government were to make the decision without consulting the people, there would always be a question of whether the decision was truly representative of the will of the people,” he said.