Parliament to debate if Jamaica should have CCJ as final appellate court
The Lower House is set to debate whether the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) should be Jamaica’s final court of appeal, in the coming months.
The government intends to reach a decision with a two-thirds majority vote in both Houses of Parliament.
The Opposition is, however, adamant that the Jamaican people must be consulted on what it describes as a fundamental change to the country's constitution.
Last week, three bills were tabled in the Lower House in the name of the Prime Minister aimed at moving Jamaica away from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller today (July 31) said the Privy Council has outlined that what is required for a decision to be taken is a two-thirds majority in both houses and not a referendum as is being proposed by the opposition.
She says the Privy Council has also encouraged Jamaica to make use of the CCJ instead of continuing to call upon the time of the UK judges, who could be addressing the concerns of British citizens.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller is encouraging the Opposition to support the government's thrust to make the CCJ Jamaica's final appeal court.
She is welcoming the request of the Opposition to have discussions before the matter is debated.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House Delroy Chuck says his side is not opposed to adopting the CCJ, but takes issue with the process by which that is achieved.
Mr. Chuck, who is also Opposition Spokesman on Justice, says it would appear that the government is trying to force this change on the people without consulting them.
Mr. Chuck says the government should consult the Jamaican people on whether or not to retain the Privy Council and the Queen of England as the Head of State.
He points out that the Government cannot achieve the majority required if the Opposition does not come on board.
In the meantime, Attorney General Patrick Atkinson says the people of Jamaica were consulted when they voted for the PNP last December, as the party had outlined in its manifesto that it would be seeking to have the CCJ be Jamaica's final appeal court.