(TrinidadExpress) The first president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) yesterday retired from the bench for the last time.
Former chief justice ofTrinidad and Tobagoand the CCJ’s first president, Michael de la Bastide, retired after serving for the mandated seven-year term. He will be replaced by Sir Dennis Byron, former chief justice of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
During his final sitting as head of the CCJ, de la Bastide thanked those who worked under and beside him and issued a stern warning to those who may seek to “remove the court’s right in relation to its own budget”.
Speaking with members of the media outside the courtroom, de la Bastide said he may write either a book or his memoir. The former judge added he would be looking forward to retirement as he has “never felt what retirement is” since following his descent from the local bench he took up the challenge of being the first CCJ president.
“I want to feel what it is like to get up in the morning and be like, what shall I do today… I have been working for the past 50 years… I don’t want to do anything (like) drudgery,” de la Bastide said.
Speaking on the issue of this country housing the CCJ and not utilising it as its final appeal court, de la Bastide said that members of the CCJ “are keeping our fingers crossed” about the acceptance of the court.
“Some people have strange ideas about the court…politicians would be able to take constitutional action that they need to bring the change needed…opportunities are being lost by those who are not using the court,” the former Chief Justice said.