Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

CCJ’s first president says a Barbados withdrawal from the court would be retrograde step

ccj-michael-de-la-bastidePORT OF SPAIN - Former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Michael de la Bastide says if Barbados withdraws from the appellate jurisdiction of the court it will undermine the standing of the court in the eyes of the region’s people.

And he is hoping that the threat to withdraw would not become reality.

Barbados was the first Caribbean country to adopt the CCJ as its final court of appeal. But at a political meeting last weekend, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart signalled that if his Democratic Labour Party is returned to office, “Barbados will be withdrawing from the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal.”

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, de la Bastide, the first CCJ president, said if Barbados withdraws from the court it will be a “retrograde step,” for that country and one that will “seriously undermine the standing of the court” in the region.

“One hopes it does not come to pass,” de la Bastide said.

Stuart made it clear Barbados will not return to the Privy Council as its final court of appeal, but offered no alternative to the CCJ, prompting de la Bastide to ask: “Is he going to make the Barbados Court of Appeal the final court?”

The former CCJ president said he hopes that if Stuart wins the election, he does not carry out his threat.

Apart from Barbados, the only other CARICOM countries that have signed on to the appellate jurisdiction of the court are Dominica, Guyana and Belize. The others still retain London’s Privy Council as their final appeals court.

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