With recent developments surrounding West Indies Cricket, and calls for Jamaica to have its own international team, we have decided to revisit the Caribbean Integration project. Consider this a walk down memory lane, and a nostalgic look at what has been the main impediment to regional integration over the decades.

Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)

Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and refusing to make the transition from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the significant hurdle facing the judicial integration process.

  •  Since inauguration in 2005, only Barbados, Belize and Guyana have signed on to this court being the final Court of Appeal.
  • The CCJ is pivotal to the integration process as Article 211 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas clearly states that “the court shall have compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the treaty.”
  • The importance of the CCJ to the CSME was reiterated by Justice Duke Pollard [2004]:

 “The Court is perceived as the institutional centrepiece of the CSME which aspires to the      creation of a single economic space superimposed on autonomous political jurisdictions in order to approximate in fact, if not in law, a single economy from the economies of many Member States.”

Problems arising

  • The fact that the CCJ has exclusive rights to resolve disputes between member states means that the Privy Council who is the final appellant court for majority members will be unable to give official interpretation of the treaty.
  • Sunders J delivered in his judgement that:

“The main purpose in establishing this court is to promote the development of a Caribbean jurisprudence, a goal which Caribbean courts are best equipped to pursue. In the promotion of such a jurisprudence, we shall naturally consider very carefully and  respectfully the opinions of the final courts of other Commonwealth countries and, particularly, the judgments of the JCPC which determine the law for those Caribbean States that accept the Judicial Committee as their final appellate court.”

  • This judgment is quite significant as it speaks to the direction of the CCJ regarding matters involving member states who do not have this court as their final Court of Appeal.
  • Rose-Marie Antoine (2008) opined that the success of the CCJ does not lie in the formal expression of its jurisdiction but in the attitude and conduct of the judges who man this powerful instrument of judicial and legal development.

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