St. Vincent PM: Country ready to join CCJ

Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves is the new chair of CARICOM.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said his country is ready to join the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), now that the new president is a born Vincentian.

Dr. Gonsalves said he is prepared to go to Parliament to change the Constitution to pave the way for the CCJ.

Some nine years ago there was a referendum seeking the public’s support to replace the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ, which citizens rejected.

However, he has acknowledged he will need the support of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and has issued a call for that backing.

Addressing a ceremonial sitting of the CCJ at the House of Assembly in Kingstown recently to celebrate Vincentian Justice Adrian Saunders’ elevation to the office of CCJ president, Gonsalves said it has been determined that a referendum was not a requirement and all that was needed was a two-thirds majority in Parliament to support the change in the Constitution that would make the move a reality.

Gonsalves’ United Labor Party (ULP) has eight of the 15 seats in Parliament, with the NDP holding the other seven. At least l0 votes are required for the constitutional change.

He also defended the independence of the CCJ, dismissing the notion that the court is susceptible to political interference.

Justice Adrian Dudley Saunders.
Caribbean Court of Justice

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