Once the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is returned to office, Barbados will be withdrawing from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final Court of Appeal.
Stating quite clearly he was not taking issue with the decisions coming out of the court, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said hiowever, he would not be changing his mind.
To loud applause from the crowd gathered for a national meeting at Eagle Hall, St Michael last night, Stuart said Barbados was the first to join and could be the first to leave.
Barbados joined the CCJ in 2004 and Stuart said even while in opposition in the Senate, he championed the cause of the court and urged the break from the Privy Council in England.
After 14 years, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica have joined.
Stuart emphasised it was not the decisions because he knew the courts got decisions right and wrong and as a lawyer when he disagreed, he would appeal.
However, he noted Jamaica kept “a safe distance”, as did Trinidad and Tobago even though the headquarters were there and the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, decided by referendum, to stay with the Privy Council. Other CAribbean nations have opted not to join.
Stuart said he spoke to outgoing president Sir Dennis Byron some years ago and he also raised concerns in Parliament before it was dissolved that judgements coming out of the CCJ were not reflecting positively on Barbados.
“I am not going to have Barbados disrespected by politicians wearing robes,” he said.
“I don’t subscribe to disrespect and I think that the attitude coming from Port of Spain leaves much to be desired in terms of how it is treating Barbados. And I am not going to have a situation where other countries in the Caribbean keep a safe, safe distance from that Court while Barbados supports it and Barbadians are treated with the kind of disrespect that I see,” he added.
He said it was not in relation to the situation to the Chief Electoral Officer and the rights of Commonwealth citizens living here to vote.
The Prime Minister also said Barbados would not be going back to the Privy Council.
Jamaica has been proven correct for not joining the block. The Jlp under then Leader Edward Seaga opposed Jamaica joining the Regional Court, on the basis it wasn’t entrenched in the Jamaican Constitution and was subjected to the whims and fancies of Regional politicians and subjected to Political manipulation. That fateful position is now turning out to be the correct one.
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