BARBADOS – Bar Association against decision for country to leave CCJ

(CNS) – Liesel Weeks, President of the Barbados Bar Association, is not in agreement with the decision by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for the country to break away from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final appellate jurisdiction.

Stuart said he spoke to outgoing CCJ President Sir Dennis Byron years ago and he also raised concerns in Parliament before it was dissolved that judgements coming out of the CCJ were not reflecting positively on Barbados.

But Weeks says the timing of the Prime Minister’s statement makes it difficult to be taken seriously.

She says the statement was made on the political platform, just days before the May 24 General Election in Barbados.

Weeks says the Bar Association does not agree that the CCJ disrespects Barbados, neither does it agree with the establishment of a final local appellate court.

“If not for any other reason but for the manner in which judges are appointed in Barbados. The appointment of judges in Barbados is made simply by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition – and consultation can mean anything from a full discource and discussion to a notification of the appointment of the particular candidate. There is no application process, there is no vetting of the candidate, there is no interview…”

Mia Mottley, leader of the main opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP), has also responded to Stuart’s statement.

At a public meeting Sunday night, Mottley said Stuart’s statement may have been as a result of a recent ruling by the CCJ regarding the registration of Commonwealth citizens to be included in the voters list ahead of Thursday’s general election in Barbados.

The CCJ, which was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, ruled that the Barbados laws regarding the registration of Commonwealth citizens, who have been resident in the country for more than three years were unlawful.

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