Demonstrators for and against a referendum on Saint Lucia’s accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) gathered outside parliament in Castries on Tuesday.
The demonstrators gathered as the government moved to the house to make the CCJ Saint Lucia’s final appellate court.
“We just called on ordinary citizens to come out today,” opposition leader Allen Chastanet told reporters as he arrived for the parliamentary session.
“We need to take a much stronger interest in the governance of our country,” said Chastanet, whose United Workers Party (UWP) wants a referendum on the CCJ accession.
He accused the government of being arrogant, turning a deaf ear, and being drunk on its own self-importance.
“They are taking over our country and ruining our country and it’s time for us to stand up,” the former Prime Minister declared, adding that the people should have a voice on critical issues like the CCJ.
However, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre told reporters on the sidelines of parliament that the court has ruled there was no need for a CCJ referendum.
He described the day as historic.
“Today, we’re going to be removing one of the last barriers of colonialism. We are going to show confidence in our people, confidence in our judges, confidence in our system. I am very proud that Saint Lucia has accepted it,” Pierre stated.
“Today will go down in history as one of the very important days for our children to know that t we had the confidence and trust in our people to make the CCJ our final court of appeal,” the Castries East MP explained.
Concerned citizen and Community Activist Aaron Alexander supported Saint Lucia’s accession to the CCJ.
The placard-bearing activist declared that Saint Lucia has been under colonialism’s yoke with the Privy Council for too long.
“The CCJ is ours,” he told reporters.
Alexander observed that there was no referendum for Saint Lucia to be part of the Privy Council.
“So why should there be a referendum for us to join the CCJ? That’s nonsense,” he said
“Let us have faith and confidence in our own people,” Alexander asserted.