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Wrong View, Sir James

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18.SEP.09

Editor: Sir James Mitchell’s vitriolic attack on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Tuesday evening at the NDP headquarters was for the wrong reason. Sir James’ problem is not an uncommon one in the Caribbean.{{more}}

It is that, even in the 21st century, he is incapable of emancipating himself from mental slavery where the administration of justice is concerned. As far as he sees it, we in the region are incapable of determining our own judicial destiny. We forever need the British Privy Council to shore us up judicially. It appears that what is foreign is good and what is local is suspect. Justice from the British Privy Council is automatically superior because it hails from England. What is regional is poor because it is home-grown.

The tragedy is that for a former Prime Minister of an independent country, for a man who once paraded himself as a “regionalist”, one expected better. After all, is there a critical difference between political independence and judicial independence? One wonders if Sir James has taken the trouble to learn firsthand about the Court (CCJ), about the kinds of cases it can handle, about how its judges are selected, about how it is funded, about the calibre of the judges and about the 4 year (admittedly short) track record of the Court. If he has, he has made the wrong conclusion. Our judges of the CCJ are second to none the world over from an ethical and academic stand point. They are independent of political massaging and are just as experienced as the Privy Council judges.

When a former SVG Prime Minister takes this stand, he sets back the completion of our independence from our English colonial master.

Concerned Citizen

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