Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding has suggested the possibility of Jamaica establishing its own final Court of Appeal as an option to the United Kingdom based Privy Council or the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“We have to dispense with the Privy Council. We are not yet satisfied that in doing so, we must take out a final court which is an external entity, over which we do not have final control as a State,” Mr. Golding said, during the debate on the Charter of Rights in the House of Representatives on December 21.
“We wish to consider this in great detail, and in earnest, we believe that we have the judicial experience to do it. We believe that we have the maturity to do it. We wish to consider establishing our final court of appeal in Jamaica. We would respectfully wish that this is something for which consideration ought to be given,” he said.
Mr. Golding further noted that the adoption of a final court should be “put to Jamaicans in a referendum.”
“I don’t think any of us in here must ever make the mistake of presuming that there is any consensus among the people of Jamaica on this, nor must we ever seek to assume that the majority of those people will vote in a particular way,” the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that there are members of both the Government and Opposition in favour of the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal for Jamaicans.
“We want to give the people something more than what they have, because what they have is something that is not even in their hands. We have given them rights, but we have to ensure that those rights remain in our hands,” he added.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller noted that the Opposition was in support of the CCJ as the country’s final court of appeal.
The CCJ is the regional judicial entity established nine years ago, to be the final appellate court for member states of the Caribbean Community. While Jamaica is a signatory to the establishment of the CCJ, the country has yet to utilise the court, as cases from the island are still referred to the Privy Council.