The Caribbean Court of Justice in Guyana
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will sit in Guyana for the first time this week. It is long overdue but welcome nevertheless. Guyana and Barbados were the first countries to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the court and our own Justice Desiree Bernard, now retiring, has been one of its first members.
Guyana’s final court of appeal, the Privy Council, was abolished in 1970. The PPP supported the establishment of our Court of Appeal but argued that the Privy Council should be retained for constitutional matters. It was felt that the Guyana judiciary was already being politically subverted and that a window of impartiality was necessary to protect at least the constitutional rights of the Guyanese people. The PPP did not succeed.
The PPP’s strong opposition to the complete abolition of the Privy Council proved to be prophetic. Election laws had already been subverted in violation of the constitution to remove management of elections from the Elections Commission to the Chief Elections Officer starting from the 1968 elections. The Elections Commission, being thereby …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.