The British Government has given Jamaica the green light to go ahead if the country decides to replace the United Kingdom-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final appellate court, and removed the Queen as the country’s head of state.
Britain’s Department for International Development, Grant Shapps, who oversees the Caribbean and Africa, said the position of the British government is that “it is entirely up to Jamaica and the Jamaican people to decide” whether they want the Court of Justice.
He was on a one-day visit to Jamaica recently.
Three bills for the abolition of appeals to the Privy Council and for Jamaica to join the Court of Justice in its appellate jurisdiction have been passed by the House of Representatives.
The bills, however, have been sitting on the table of the Senate as the government appears unable to secure the support from at least one opposition senator.
“The United Kingdom is not going to stand in the way of or judge, one way or the other, the domestic division,” Shapps said.
The parliamentary opposition has been insisting that the matter of the final court but put to the people in a referendum, but the Portia Simpson-Miller government said that it us unwise to subject matters of the judicial to the political hustings. In addition to the abolishing appeals to the Privy Council, Simpson-Miller said that she intends to make the island a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth as the head of state.