CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Carla Barnett, has welcomed Saint Lucia’s decision to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court Of Justice (CCJ).
In so doing, Saint Lucia would become the fifth CARICOM member state to replace the Privy Council with the regional court.
“We welcome the decision by Saint Lucia to initiate steps towards accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice,” the CARICOM Secretary-General tweeted on Wednesday.
Barnett’s remarks came one day after Saint Lucia’s Acting Governor-General, His Excellency Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles, addressed parliament on the issue.
He announced that the government of Saint Lucia had appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Justice Sir Dennis Byron to prepare the way.
“The draft legislation for the amendment of Saint Lucia’s Constitution to allow for accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public scrutiny,” the Acting Governor-General said.
All of the CARICOM countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, which also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement,
But only Barbados, Guyana, Belize, and Dominica have signed on to the Court’s Appellate jurisdiction.
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, whose Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) swept to power with thirteen seats in the 17-seat House Of Assembly after the July 26, 2021, general elections, has said that the parliamentary majority rules out the need for a referendum on the CCJ accession plan.
Two individuals, Stephenson King (Castries North) and Richard Frederick (Castries Central), who contested the polls as Independent Candidates, currently serve in the SLP cabinet.
However, despite the SLP’s parliamentary majority, opposition leader Allen Chastanet had expressed surprise that Pierre would not want to put an important issue like accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ to the people of Saint Lucia in a referendum.
“What’s the fear?” The United Workers Party (UWP) leader asked during a recent interview.
The former Prime Minister, stating that he was not pronouncing his party’s position on the requirement for a referendum, recalled that Pierre’s labour party had campaigned on the platform of putting the people first.