St. Lucia has followed in the footstep of Dominica in its move to become a full member of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Governor General Pearlette Louisy revealed.
Delivering the traditional throne speech recently at the start of the new parliamentary session, Dame Pearlette said that the Kenny Anthony government would write to the British government on the island’s move to join the CCJ, which was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final appellate court.
Barbados, Belize and Guyana are the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have joined both the appellate and original jurisdictions of the court that also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration grouping.
Most of the other countries are signatories to the original jurisdiction.
The governor general said that while St. Lucia had joined other CARICOM countries and signed the agreement establishing the CCJ in 2002; it did not proceed to abolish appeals in civil and criminal matters to the Privy Council.
“My government believes the time has now come to replace Her Majesty’s Privy Council by the Caribbean Court of Justice is one such international agreement,” she said.
The head of state said the first question was whether or not abolition of appeals to the Privy Council required amendments to the Constitution of St. Lucia, including a referendum, or alternatively, whether an error was made in drafting of section 41(7) (a) of the Constitution when it referred to section 107 instead of section l08 of the Constitution.
“In the end, a majority of the court ruled that there was indeed an error in the Constitution and the court was authorized to correct the error,” the governor said.
Dame Pearlette said once the agreement of the British government is secured, a bill will be tabled to effect the necessary amendments to the Constitution.