Former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson has called on Caribbean nations to press ahead with the regional integration project, including the adoption of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as their appellate court.
Patterson who was speaking at a recent celebratory dinner held in his honor at the Round Hill Hotel in the northwestern parish of Hanover urged states to work together to develop the region and protect their interests, just as how the once-warring European Union countries have done.
“The challenges which we face oblige us, not just out of a question of sentiment, but of shared necessity, to pool our collective strengths and combine all our resources in the development of the Caribbean to which we belong,” he told the banquet.
Patterson, an early architect of the Caribbean Court of Justice, said the Caribbean community member states should embrace the CCJ as their final court of appeal and replace the Privy Council in London, stating that the questions surrounding the court have been answered.
“We have already paid for the Caribbean Court of Justice in full, whether or not we use it as our final appellate court, so let’s embrace it,” he said.
Jamaica retains appeals to the Privy Council for civil and criminal matters but Patterson’s recently-elected People’s National Party (PNP) government has signaled its intention to join the CCJ.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, who was the guest speaker, called for an end to squabbling among Caribbean nations and suggested they should unite wherever possible to pursue “strategies which will yield the most benefits to our region and its people.”