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News > Latin America

Antigua, Grenada Vote on Joining Caribbean Court of Justice

  • A number of heads of judiciaries from the CCJ and Caricom.

    A number of heads of judiciaries from the CCJ and Caricom. | Photo: Twitter / @CaribbeanCourt

Published 4 September 2018

The Caribbean Court of Justice was established in April 2005.

Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada are scheduled to hold a referendum on Nov. 6 to determine if the Caribbean Court of Justice, or CCJ, will serve as the highest court of the two Caribbean countries.

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While it's the first time that the electorate of Antigua and Barbuda will be allowed to decide on the matter, Grenadians rejected the CCJ as their highest court in 2016.

Attorney Jerry Edwin of the Head of Chambers of Eden Law Caribbean said, "If Grenadians vote "NO" to the CCJ on Nov. 6 this year, the error will surely be the fault of our political leaders and pro-vote misnamed the Advisory Committee, that together failed to engage in a confident full-throttle education program that honestly and forthrightly disclosed to Grenadians, an opportunity to make an independent and informed decision about whether they should replace the Privy Council as their current and final appeal court with the Caribbean Court of Justice."

Edwin said he fully supports, in theory, a Caribbean Court of Justice, but believes that Grenada's government is wasting enormous resources on a referendum which may result in another failure due to the hastened speed at which the government is moving forward with its campaign dubbed, "Breaking the Chains of Colonialism for one United Caribbean," according to NOW Grenada.

"The miscalculated decision to move full speed ahead with a referendum vote to amend the Constitution for the purpose of making the CCJ the final court of appeal, without engaging in an exercise they failed to undertake previously, that is, educating the Grenada public about the CCJ, is very likely to kill forever a laudable opportunity to adopt a regional court of final appeal."

The CCJ was established in April 2005. Since then, only four countries, Guyana, Barbados, Belize and Dominica have accepted the Appellate Jurisdiction of the Court. Nevertheless, Caribbean Community, or Caricom, taxpayers throughout the region fund the operation of the court.

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