Agreement establishing CCJ should be amended to make judgments in its original jurisdiction enforceable

Dear Editor,

Caribbean nationals were surprised to learn last week that there is no mechanism to enforce all judgments made by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). This surprise disclosure was made last week by a judge of the CCJ, Rolston Nelson when he addressed broadcasters in Jamaica.

This means that the B$77,240 judgment obtained by the young Jamaican woman, Shanique Myrie against the Barbados government for wrongfully denying her entry in the country, and for an illegal cavity search by immigration officers, might encounter some problems before she can reap the fruits of the award.

Justice Nelson said that there is no power in the national laws for a CCJ Order to be treated as a national order. My humble suggestion is that the Agreement establishing the CCJ should be amended to make CCJ judgments in its original jurisdiction enforceable as judgments in the Appellate jurisdiction. I am amazed that the powers that be did not see the wisdom of including this clause when drafting the agreement.

The CCJ judge explained to broadcasters that there are several regional integration treaties that do not  have coercive power to enforce their judgments.

However legal experts feel that there are powerful reasons to impel a judgment debtor on the Original Jurisdiction  to comply with a CCJ judgment. Investigations revealed that save and except the Myrie case all the other orders have been complied with.  Barbados is a country which observes the Rule of Law and one wonders why there a delay in honouring an Order from the highest court of the land.

Myrie is a Jamaican national,  and Jamaica has not joined the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction, but she was entitled to move to the CCJ in its original jurisdiction which she did successfully. Only three countries, Guyana, Barbados and Belize have abolished appeals from the Privy Council and accepted the CCJ as their final appellate court.

 

Yours faithfully,
Oscar Ramjeet

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