UWI lecturer, Doctor Hamid Ghany, has defined the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as a “conundrum”, asserting that Caribbean people are being asked to accept the court as the final court of appeal.
However Ghany, who is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science, told the Times that the first President and Chief Justice of the CCJ, Michael de La Bastide and the current one, the Right Honorable Sir Dennis Byron both became members of the Privy Council in 2004.
The UWI senior lecturer expressed the opinion that as a result, the convention has emerged of having the Chief Justice of the CCJ become a member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council, while at the same time the region is being urged to cut ties with the council.
“As someone who has been involved in drafting two constitutions that’s set up the CCJ as the final court of appeal, I am not objecting to the transfer,” Ghany explained.
The UWI lecturer said he was objecting to the manner in which the concept is being sold to the public.
As far as he is concerned, the CCJ should be sold to the public as being a court that has a superior record of delivery and a certain level of efficiency of service.
“It should not be sold to the public on an anti-colonial basis when you have persons who are members of Her Majesty’s Privy Council who have knighthoods in the same breath telling us we should end the colonial connection,” Ghany observed.
He recalled having asked publicly for an explanation as to why the two lines of argument exist.
Ghany has called on the CCJ to abandon the anti-colonial argument, which constitutes an “intellectual trap.”
“They need to advocate for the court on the basis that it can be more efficient and will serve the Caribbean more efficiently than the Privy Council does,” he declared.
The UWI lecturer, who is Coordinator of the Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Studies Unit, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI St Augustine Campus, delivered a lecture last night at the UWI Open Campus here.
His theme was: The Westminster-Whitehall Model in the Commonwealth in the Commonwealth Caribbean and Resistance to Change.