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Preparation for CCJ referendum in Antigua-Barbuda underway – but government issues warning

JOHN’S, Antigua, Jan. 16, CMC – The Electoral Commission in Antigua and Barbuda  is in the process of preparing for a referendum to determine whether the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will replace the British Privy council as the final court of appeal.

The referendum is scheduled to be held later this year but the Gaston Brown led administration has warned that it could stop the process if it becomes too politicised.

Sir Rodney Williams

This was revealed by Governor General Sir. Rodney Williams as he delivered the Throne Speech on Thursday.
“If it appears that any political party seeks to turn the referendum into a measure of political support, then mu government will announcing that the referendum will have to await another day.”

His statement comes following an announcement of plans for a public education campaign to sensitize the public.

The Governor-General said persons eligible to participate in the referendum will be drawn from the list of voters in each constituency.

The ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the opposition United Progress Party (UPP) have agreed to consultations that would pave the way for the CCJ to become the final appellate court.

However, in order to do so, the constitution requires that it must be done in a referendum.

The CCJ was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council and while most of the Caribbean countries have signed on to the court’s original jurisdiction, only Barbados, Guyana, Belize and Dominica, are signatories to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement

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