President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron is hoping that Dominica will move towards adopting the CCJ as its final appellate Court in a manner free of partisan politics.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit recently announced his Government’s intention to write to the British Government this month seeking permission to cut ties with the London-based Privy Council.
Speaking at a Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce (DAIC) luncheon on Wednesday at the Fort young Hotel, Sir Bryon said, in moving forward, there are two legal requirements which must first be taken into consideration.
“The first requirement is that the Government of Dominica and the Government of the United Kingdom have to agree to abolish appeals to the Privy Council and the second requirement is that a bill must be passed in the Parliament of Dominica with the support of at least three quarters of elected members,” he said.
Sir Byron also stated that the British Government has given many assurances that it will not stand in the way of Dominica’s plan to cut ties with the Privy Council in order to adopt the CCJ.
Sir Byron believes that the decision taken by the Government of Dominica is timely and he is suggesting that the matter be brought before Dominica’s parliament soon.
“The onus is now on the members of the house, your Parliament, to place a bill on the parliamentary agenda so that Dominica can fulfill its promise to be a full member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, and I would sincerely hope that as this is being discussed it does not become a political partisan issue and that the interest of the country as a whole will be considered,” he stated.
Sir Byron further stated the CCJ stands ready and able to serve Dominica in this process. He stated that since Dominica has already paid its dues to the CCJ, it won’t cost the island anything to accept the court as its final appellate court.
The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council, and also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.
While most of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have joined the CCJ in its original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana and Belize are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction.