CASTRIES, St Lucia, (GIS) – The Government of Saint Lucia (GOSL) has begun the transition from utilizing the Privy Council to employing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final court of appeal, reports Herma Demacque, Government Information Service (GIS). The island will become the fifth country to make the move after Dominica.
According to the GIS report, attorney-general, Leslie Mondesir said Saint Lucia’s accession to the CCJ brings the country one step closer to attaining full independence.
“In April of this year, we signalled to the government of the United Kingdom our intention to terminate appeals to the Privy Council. This is a necessary step by virtue of Section 41 of our Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom has recently responded with its non-objection to Saint Lucia commencing the legal process to terminate appeals to the Privy Council. We wish to emphasize that a referendum is not required to complete the Accession process once agreement is reached with the United Kingdom.”
A committee has been established to facilitate this historic move. Leading the accession committee is Sir Denis Byron, former chief justice of the Caribbean Supreme Court and former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice. He informed of the composition of the committee:
“Renee St Rose, the immediate past president of the Saint Lucia Bar Association. Matthew Roberts, retired head of the University of the West Indies Campus in Saint Lucia and former speaker of the House of Assembly, David Vitalis a qualified and experienced media practitioner, and Rene Williams who is the senior Crown Council in the office of the attorney general. Administrative support is being provided to the committee by Miss Claudine Gibson,” Sir Denis said.
The committee recently held a press conference to launch a public education campaign that will inform the public of Saint Lucia’s intention to join the jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
In the coming weeks the draft legislation to amend Saint Lucia’s constitution to provide for appeals to the CCJ, will be circulated for public comment.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party in its manifesto said:
“Commence the process for the accession to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Saint Lucia’s final appellate court as the replacement to the Privy Council.”
The party contended that: “ During the last five years, Saint Lucia has witnessed an unprecedented assault on its constitutional and parliamentary conventions and the abuse of the institutions of our democracy, by the United Workers Party (UWP) government. We must restore openness, transparency, honesty and trust in our governance. Our government must be for all the people not some of the people.”