Prime Minister, Gaston Browne said the London-based court has failed in its duty to provide effective service to Commonwealth nations. Remaining with the Privy Council, he said, will mean a perversion of justice.
The PM made the statement at the launch of a public education campaign, ahead of a referendum to decide whether to retain the Privy Council or adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the nation’s final court of appeal.
Browne said staying with the Privy Council will compromise the quality of its decisions in the future.
“The Privy Council is clearly an outmoded colonial construct that was designed exclusively for the wealthy few and has failed to provide broad based accessibility and dispensation of justice to the masses.”
“Caribbean nations may not only have to contend with the inaccessibility of justice of the masses, but may be faced with perverted decisions, as less time is spent on hearing cases from the region,” Browne said.
“It was Lord Phillips, as head of the UK Supreme Court and head of the Privy Council, who complained that cases from the Commonwealth, including Antigua & Barbuda, was taking up a disproportionate amount of time of their judges and that he was searching for ways to reduce the time spent on those cases.”
Browne said the intent of that statement, even though clothed in diplomacy, could not be any clearer.