The President of the OECS Bar Association, Thaddeus Antoine, has said that he is very disappointed with the outcome of referendums in Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda, in which the populations voted in favour of retaining the London-based Privy Council.
However while expressing disappointment, Antoine told RCI’s Keba Taliam Wednesday that he was “really not surprised.”
“It just goes to show that our education on the issues of access to justice – the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Privy Council, needs to be ramped up,” the Attorney at Law asserted.
“Something else I got from the referendum is that we have to remove the politicians from the entire process,” Antoine stated.
He noted that politicians are viewed with some cynicism.
” No matter what they say, although they may be correct in what they are saying, the public feels that they agree with a position because there is something in it for them – there is some ulterior motive, and that is very sad. But it affects us,” the OECS Bar Association President observed.
Antoine expressed the view that the bar associations and civil society have to become more involved..
He expressed the hope that the OECS Secretariat would have a campaign alongside the bar associations to help fund a campaign to educate people on the need for our courts and how it is important to access courts.
“Not to say to the people that we must go to the CCJ or get rid of the Privy Council, but rather to provide them with the information so that they could make an informed decision that is not clouded by any party colour or by any politician. I think that is important,” Antoine told RCI.
The President of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Justice Adrian Saunders, has said that the court would continue “ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies” in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada despite the vote to retain the Privy Council.
“While the news is not what we hoped for, we respect the people of both nations and their decision,” Justice Saunders said in a statement following Tuesday’s vote in the two countries.