The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Rt. Honorable Dr. Kenny Anthony, will deliver the Feature Address a Special Seminar on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Thursday, December 1, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. at the Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. The Seminar will deal with the subject: The Caribbean Court of Justice in a Changing Regional Milieu: Challenges and Prospects.
This important event has been organized by the Dubois Bunche Center for Public Policy (DBC) of Medgar Evers College, CUNY, and is part of a wider international program to sensitize the international community to critical development issues in the Caribbean, Africa and Asia and matters that are part of the United Nations development agenda.
Congressman Charles Rangel and Congressman Major Owens have been invited to make Statements at the Seminar as well as Dr. Thomas Gittens, Head (ag) of the UNDP Caribbean Division, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Special Invitees to the Seminar include Elected Officials of the New York State and City, representatives of Caribbean Diaspora Organizations, the CARICOM Diplomatic and Consular Corps, the United Nations, members of the New York legal fraternity, representatives of the business community and other interested parties.
The CCJ Special Seminar in New York is a first step aimed at substantially increasing awareness of, and stimulating understanding for, the CCJ in the United States, particularly among American decision-makers in various fields of endeavor, including the United States Administration, the United States Private Sector, and the US Media – both mainstream and community.
At the same time, it is anticipated that this initiative would greatly resonate with the Caribbean Diaspora and would sensitize this significant segment of the US population to the nature and importance of the CCJ thereby giving members of the Diaspora a more enlightened appreciation of Caribbean development.
The Caribbean Court of Justice has, in recent times, attracted considerable regional and international attention. Its origins are traceable to the period of the 1970’s following the tabling of a Resolution by the Government of Jamaica at the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community. The second phase, from the 1970’s to 1988, was a period of reflection and some experimentation when Guyana, for example, ended its relationship with the Privy Council and established the Guyana Court of Appeal as its final Appellate Court.
In the 1989, CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Grand Anse, Grenada revisited the notion of establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice and adopted the decision to proceed with the establishment of a Caribbean Court which would replace the Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal for the Region. This position was reaffirmed during the fourth phase, which commenced with the 1992 Report of the West Indian Commission, A Time for Action. In its Report, the Commission declared that the case for the CARICOM Supreme Court, with both a general appellate jurisdiction and an original one, was overwhelming and was fundamental to the process of Caribbean integration.
In January 2004, the Revised Agreement Establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice Trust Fund took effect by virtue of the signatures of ten (10) of the CARICOM Member States. The States that signed the Revised Agreement then were Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The CCJ was inaugurated in April 2005 and is located in Trinidad and Tobago.