Dominica has officially said good-bye to the London-based Privy Council and has made the Caribbean Justice (CCJ) its final appellate court.
The ceremony took place at the State House in Roseau on Friday.
The event was described as “momentous” and a step forward by Dominica and the OECS by President of the CCJ, Sir Dennis Byron.
“I want to congratulate Dominica,” he said.
He stated that the CCJ had “in certain ways” always been Dominica’s court.
“But today it is completely your court in every respect,” he stated. “And it is now the final court of appeal for the Commonwealth of Dominica.”
Byron noted that the accession to the CCJ by Dominica was a “definitive step” towards completing its circle of independence.
He stated that the CCJ offers increase access to justice for the people of the Caribbean.
“This is very evident in the countries where the CCJ is already the final court,” he noted. “Unlike the Privy Council, ordinary folks have been bringing their cases before the Caribbean Court of Justice. And I can assure you, proudly assure you, that our court is accessible to anyone who has a legitimate dispute that is worthy of adjudication at the highest level of justice.”
He noted that the CCJ will serve the people of Dominica well.
“We believe it is a well functioning judiciary, which like all well functioning judiciaries contributes to economic development and social stability…” he said.
Meanwhile Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, said he is honored and humbled to be the leader of Dominica on what he described as a “historic moment” for the island.
“I have in the past argued that our country could not be truly independent if its final court of appeal was a court located in London thousands of miles away and tens of thousands of dollars away from the access of ordinary Dominican citizens,” he noted. “We complete today the third and final declaration of our sovereignty. We build today on two earlier steps: our political independence and our determination that our head of state must be a citizen of our fair land.”