LIVE Conversations with Indian Elders in the Diaspora – Part 3 Join us THIS SUNDAY for the 131st weekly ICC (+AGI) ZOOM Public Meeting.
The recent ruling by the Privy Council in England on a Caribbean case has, once again, raised questions about whether local courts can be truly trusted to make impartial judgements and the integrity of local magistrates and judges. On Monday (27/6/22), five British law lords said the committal of the accused by deceased former Port of Spain chief magistrate Sherman McNicolls on a slew of fraud and corruption-related offences was tainted by apparent political bias. The 22-year-old criminal case, arising out of the construction of the Piarco International Airport terminal building, was, therefore, thrown out by the Privy Council in England.
Courts follow a hierarchical structure and must oblige by the precedent set by the highest court for that jurisdiction as set out in a country’s constitution. Once upon a time, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the final court of appeal for all territories of the British Empire. As countries became independent over the course of the 20th century, many dropped the colonial body in favour of a domestic alternative. Ireland, Canada, India and South Africa were among the first to establish their judicial sovereignty, and 22 more were added to that list from 1933 to 2015. However, eight Commonwealth realms and three republics still utilise the decisions of Her Majesty’s Lords.
Eight of the territories that rely on the Privy Council are in the Caribbean. An alternate, the Caribbean Court of Justice, was established in 2001. But nations of the region have been reluctant to acquiesce to the Treaty. Only Guyana, Barbados, Belize and Dominica have done so. The Court, however, functions and adjudicates on matters relating to the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which also established the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Despite the fact that the CCJ is seated in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago is most reluctant to accept the CCJ. Trinidad and Tobago is joined by the commonwealth realms: Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia, Antigua, St Kitts, Jamaica and Bahamas, who still have Her Majesty the Queen as Head of State. With nationalist Barbados and Guyana becoming the regional powerhouse, the debate between the Privy Council versus the CCJ has intensified. This is the subject of our ICC ZOOM discussion this Sunday.
Please join us THIS SUNDAY for the 109th weekly ICC ZOOM Public Meeting, July 3, 2022 at (1.00 p.m. Belize), (3.00 p.m. New York/Eastern time), (3.00 p.m. Trinidad/Atlantic time), (3.00 p.m. Guyana), (4.00 p.m. Suriname), (8.00 p.m. England), (9.00 p.m. South Africa), (Mon 12.10 a.m. India, ND), (Mon 7.00 a.m. Fiji).
The Caribbean Court of Justice vs The Privy Council:
Implications for the Indian Diaspora
ATTORNEY DR DEREK O'BRIEN ( UK ) - Reader in Public Law at Oxford Brookes University focusing on politics, history and constitutional law in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
BARRISTER ROWAN PENNINGTON‑BENTON (Temple, UK) - Practicing from 3 Hare Court Chambers in London, and from Hassans International Law Firm in Gibraltar.
DR. HON. JUSTICE ANTHONY GAFOOR (Trinidad) - Chairman and Chief Judge of the Tax Appeal Court of T&T (Superior Court of Record). Holder of a Ph.D in International Relations.
SENATOR ATTORNEY JAYANTI LUTCHMEDIAL (Trinidad) - Opposition Senator and former prosecutor in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
DR. INDIRA RAMPERSAD (Trinidad) - UWI lecturer in Political Science; holder of an LPC and an LLM from Staffordshire University, UK, and an LLB from the University of London
Followed by Q&A
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