Caribbean people are being urged to draw on the historical experience of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Court of Appeal as a reference point in assessing the Region’s readiness for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“If we want something we have to be prepared to fund it; I use the experience with the OECS Court of Appeal…the participating Governments have provided the funding for the establishment and maintenance of that Court”, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Attorney-General, the Honourable Carl Joseph told a Media Conference in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, last week.
Attorney-General Joseph was at the time meeting with journalists following the conclusion of a workshop, which was aimed at sensitising key operatives of OECS Member States on the establishment of the CCJ.
The Attorney-General also expressed confidence in the quality of jurists from the Region, noting that “we have some of the best jurists in the world,” adding that “some of our jurists have sat on the Privy Council, but usually not to deal with Caribbean cases.”
The Attorney-General of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Delano Bart, reporting to the Media conference on the consultations which flowed from the workshop sessions, said that the participants agreed that the countries needed to build awareness among the youth in particular about the Court and the reasons for its establishment.
Mr. Bart described the public education initiative as a “long and difficult process”, while underlining the importance of the CCJ national committees to the educational process. He noted too the importance for all CARICOM countries “to get to a position where we are all able to inform the Region in an expeditious manner.”
The St. Kitts and Nevis Attorney-General said that the participants had also endorsed the need for closer working relationships between the Attorneys-General and the media, presentation of town meetings, and radio and television programmes as part of a range of multi media activities necessary to deliver the message effectively.
The workshop which took place from September 26-27, 2000, was attended by senior Government officials, representatives of CCJ National Committees, and Government Information Services from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis as well as representatives of the CARICOM Secretariat.