The highly anticipated debate on three bills to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice, CCJ, as Jamaica’s final appellate started today in the Senate.
The debate has been suspended until next week.
Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, opened the debate. He argued that the most pressing reason for the CCJ to become Jamaica’s final court is its accessibility to the people of Jamaica.
The Government needs the support of at least one Opposition Senator if the bills are to be passed into law by the required two-thirds majority vote.
Senator Golding pointed out, that filing fees at the privy council have moved from a flat rate of JMD$67,000 to a whopping $900,000, for some high value cases.
Senator Golding also shot down suggestions by the Opposition, that Jamaica should establish its own court of appeal.
He questioned the rationale of the proposal — asking where the money would come from and why the need given that the CCJ is already fully funded.
Opposition Senator Alexander Williams made opening arguments on behalf of the JLP. He argued that the issue of whether Jamaica should join the CCJ must be put to the people.
For his part, Opposition Senator, Kavan Gayle told the Senate why he’ll vote against the three CCJ bills.
The debate will continue next week Thursday.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senator, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says he’ll be allowing his conscience to guide him when it’s time to vote for the three CCJ bills.
Senator Tufton speaking to Nationwide News before entering the Senate today.
Meanwhile, Government Senator, Sandrea Falconer, is calling on the Opposition to make good sense prevail when it’s time to vote for the CCJ.