Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda have voted against the move to have the
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their highest appellate court. Separate referenda were held yesterday.
The CCJ in a release today said that the President of the CCJ, Justice Adrian Saunders said, “while the news is not what we hoped for, we respect the people of both nations and their decision. The court will naturally continue ongoing initiatives with justice sector bodies in each of these countries, and the wider Caribbean, through the JURIST project and otherwise.”
The release said that in both Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda, the turnout of voters was low. In Grenada, of 21, 979 votes cast, some 9,846 persons voted to adopt the CCJ as the final Court of Appeal. In Antigua and Barbuda, the release said that the margin was a little tighter. There were 9,234 votes against and 8,509 votes in favour of adopting the CCJ. The CCJ will still be serving both Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda. Justice Saunders emphasised that, “these results will not, of course, deter us from serving with distinction those nations that currently send their final appeals to us. As well, the Court will also continue to process and hear applications from all CARICOM States, and from CARICOM itself, in our Original Jurisdiction, and our justice reform work in the region will also continue”.
There is an Original Jurisdiction case currently before the Court originating from Grenada.
The JURIST Project, which is being implemented by the Caribbean
Court of Justice on behalf of the Conference of Heads of Judiciary of CARICOM states, is working on a Sexual Offences Model Court to be housed at the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda in 2019, the release said.