Dominican educator Donald Peters Ph.D has boldly spoken out against the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final appellate court for the region.
His statement adds to the long-standing debate on whether or not the Caribbean should break ties with the London-based Privy Council and adopt the CCJ as its final appellate court.
Only three countries in the Caribbean, Belize, Barbados and Guyana have fully accepted the CCJ as their final court to date.
Peters believes this is evidence that the region is not comfortable with the CCJ. Several former Caribbean leaders and regional diplomats have told the Caribbean to accept the CCJ as they move to strengthen regional integration. Peters however, says those appeals appear to be “emotional”.
“Nobody can tell me why. What is the benefit for me as a citizen to have Trinidadians and Dominicans making final decision on law. If I were to advise government I would tell them not to support the call,” he stressed.
He is of the view that the region is too small to handle the responsibility of manning its final appellate court. Comparing the size of the Caribbean islands Dominica and St. Kitts, Peters questioned: “You would be comfortable with me sitting down on your supreme court and when your case comes, there might be something that happened between you and I, how are we going to handle that?”
He added, “Nationalism at this stage is not a good reason for making decisions that involves people’s lives.”
Just this week Trinidad and Tobago leader Kamla Persad-Bisessar defended her territory’s decision to hang on to the Privy Council, saying that she should not attempt to fix something that is not broken.