BREAKING: Antigua rejects CCJ

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Antigua and Barbuda Tuesday voted in favour of retaining the London-based Privy Council as its final court, according to the preliminary figures released here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) said that of the 17,743 votes counted, the “No” vote secured 9, 234 as against 8,509 for the “Yes” vote.

Voters here had been casting ballots to decide whether to retain the Privy Council or instead move to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was established in 2001 to be the region’s final court.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne had hoped that Antigua and Barbuda would have joined Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana as the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to be full members of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty governing the 15-member CARICOM grouping.

“I have discharged my responsibility to make the option of transitioning from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. I think it is a great opportunity for them.

“ I urge them to go out and vote “yes” …and in any event whatever the decision I will be guided accordingly, but as far as I am concerned I have delivered in the responsibility to make this very important option available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Prime Minister Browne said, soon after casting his ballot on Tuesday.

But the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has said it is not supportive of the move to replace the Privy Council and had urged supporters to vote their conscience.

ABEC said that 33.5 per cent of the electorate voted in the referendum and that the “No” vote had secured 52.04 per cent with the “Yes” vote gathering 47.96 per cent.

The chairman of the National Coordinating Committee on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, said while he is disappointed in the results “the people have spoken and we accept the verdict.

“The result is a result that demonstrates democracy. The people have spoken and certainly we will need to reflect on the loss. However, I am of the firm conviction that as we move towards consolidation of the regional integration movement, our people whether in St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada or Antigua, the greater appreciation of the institutions that we have created will become even more appreciated, celebrated in order for us to find our place in the global community.”

Henry said it is imperative for the region to “build our Caribbean institutions, no matter the struggles, no matter the challenges and no matter the defeats.

“We must redouble our efforts at deeper and fuller education of our institutions and ;place them within the curriculum of our schools in the region,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

Head of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, whose organisation had conducted an opinion poll and had predicted that the “yes” vote would have received the required support to take the island into the CCJ, expressed disappointment at the outcome.

“I am not Antiguan but I am disappointed for Antigua and the rest of the Caribbean. I think this is an unfortunate result equally so because the same thing was replicated in Grenada (today) and I really do hope that in the future we can get back on track.

“But the most I can say is that I am disappointed. I think this is an opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to have created history and to set a course of a circle of development and ultimately the population said no,” he added.

Full breakdown of results by constituency:

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44 COMMENTS

    • It is time for us to have the Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court (ABSC) as our final court of appeal, now that would be true independence.

      Do not trust these weird Caribbean institutions that are being forced upon Antigua to join. Antigua gains very little by being a part of these weird corrupt Caribbean organizations.

      Antigua and Barbuda is a strong and independent nation, we should create our own course forward and not become like Jamaica or Haiti.

  1. I am sooooo proud of my people of Antigua and Barbuda. You have filled my heart with pride and joy. You have shown that DEMOCRACY is alive and kicking in our twin-island state. No amount of attempted brainwashing and forcing the CCJ down our throats could stop us from DECIDING FOR OURSELVES. The gov’t and the NCC hijacked ABS and tried with all their might to get us to “fall in line” but we have shown that we have the power, we call the shots, we decide what we want. Dem try arl kinda kungfu (oh it’s the final link in the chain to break free from colonialism) but we stood strong. They turned the CCJ campaign into a Jim Jones-like cult recruitment drive. But our people did NOT drink the koolaid. It’s a good day for DEMOCRACY in our fair land. I salute my people for exercising their franchise and rejecting the CCJ. Big up to all and may God continue to bless this land of ours. #DemocrayWins #FreeWillHadTheLastSay #NOtoTheCCJ #ThePeopleHaveSpoken #PraiseTheLord

    • First of all you patting your back is a clear example of a false sense of pride. If you look at the figures that turn out to vote tell us that 67 percent of the voters in Antigua does not care one way or the other about ccj or privy council. Barbuda is a fine example because out of 1165 registered voters only 442 turned out to vote. That’s less than 40 percent. It was clear that bpm supporters, party politics voted no. Does that resoundingly says the country does not want ccj or that persons are just not interested. I don’t think the results should be what is focused on but rather the turnout of voters. The lack of turnout sent a clearer message that persons don’t care one way or the other. Events before this referendum were filed with holes, ignorance and lack of knowledge. Again take Barbuda for an example. I saw voters voted not because they had an understanding of the issue but because they would follow bpm if they were told to jump over a cliff. If you ask them today why they voted no, you would be surprised at the answer. All in all this referendum was not about an issue of ccj of privy council but but a political issue based on political gain. Barbud again an example. The main focus in Barbuda was about corruption. Fine. Look at this guy frank who is eager to keep the privy council only because he gets a percentage of the fees paid to McDonald while pretending to fight for Barbuda lands. That’s corruption at its smartest.

    • To be truly independent, Antigua and Barbuda needs its own Supreme Court as the final court of appeal. As long as we keep thinking that Antigua needs to outsource our legal system to other places, we will never be truly free. Do not trust these various Caribbean organizations that are being forced upon Antigua such as CARICOM, etc. – they are weakening us more than helping us.

  2. Who made up the story with grace that made me just say am voting nooo that story did not make any sense who came up with that….gaston the back pay na work and you going in st johns and cussing like a little kid

  3. With all the back pay and the millions spent to secure a CCJ vote, one would have thought it would have been even closer. People are still smart…take the money and vote their common sense. Cleary the public education was not good to start and even more so, Antiguans are far from convinced of the merits of the CCJ.

    • LMAO!!! “it dem out, jink dem out & vote dem out” so the people tek dem backpay and still voted NO! Smart folks. The politicians aren’t the only one who got game. LMAO, LMAO

    • A no vote was a vote for keeping something unique and prestigious for Antigua, the Privy Council. I think we should have our own Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court as a court of final appeal, but if we don’t have a court like that, then the Privy Council is cool.

    • We need to be free from our own people as head of government who are more colonialism to us than the judges on the Privy Council.

    • Free from what may I Ask? We spend money with colonial master face all over it, we have a governor general representing colonial masters, we depend entirely on the colonial masters and their children to come to our shores so we can make ends meet. So please how can our nation truly be free when need the colonial masters to keep our country afloat?

  4. Not only this election but in the general elections, Antiguans turn out in very low numbers. Out of a nation of
    Appx 90 000 not even half have EVER turn out to vote.:: again not just this election but any election …. smh … HAVE SOME PRIDE ANTIGUA. Anyway congrats

    • Stop spouting these lies and false allegations please. In the last two general elections, the voter turnout was over 80% average. Just stop with the bullshit information you’re trying to spew please.

      • I think I will change my:
        First the real rastaman
        Now another rastaman.
        That post was not from the original BOBO DREAD

        • It is time for the Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court (ABSC) concept to be voted on. Now that would be true independence!

    • People do not turn out because they are fed up. Politicians are all the same it seems. They make promises before an election and then after they win they forget about the very people they made the promises to. The average man is only important for a vote and then the fat goes to the Asians and middle easterners. We are only used to accomplish the politicians’ agenda.

    • We Antiguans really need more pride in partaking in any elections our country is having. It is our country not no one else. God has given us this nation and we need to protect it with His help in choosing the right person/persons to governing it including the right earthly court of appeal.

    • First of all the population being 90000 doesn’t mean everyone is eligible to vote. You have to be 18 years and over and of a sound mind. And registered voters is more around 50000

  5. The low turnout shows that Antiguans are not interested and don’t really care about the issue at hand. In that case the status quo remains and those who can afford it will go to the Privy Council if the need arises and those who cannot afford it if the need arises sorry for them. Living in a democracy has it pros and cons and its ups and down. But one has to learn with the Ays have it. Gaston still in power and will be for the next 4++++++ years. Cause the country running good.

    • The low turnout means that:

      A. people were not clear about the issues
      B. it became way too political and people backed out from voting
      C. the education campaign failed miserably

      • People looked at it like this. Would I ever in my lifetime have need to go to either the Privy Council or the CCJ? The answer in 99% of the cases is No. So No is the answer.
        A cleaner I was speaking to when I asked her if she went voting already said exactly that to me. She could not be bothered to make the effort to go and vote on an issue that she knew little of and did not affected her and her children

  6. Wow these people have no confidence in their own system and why are they celebrating? Remember your prime minister has money and can afford the privy council , but can you do the same.

  7. A vote for the Privy Council is NOT a vote for continued colonialism, but a vote for secured justice. Can you just imagine our Attorney General, or the likes of him, one day sitting on the CCJ? This thought makes me shudder. They made this whole thing about continued colonialism and then added the cost of of the PC being prohibited to “poor” people. Think of the cost of corruption at the head of our legal system. I believe the PC would be cheaper. The lower courts are not immune from political and private interference, and it is from this very lower courts that the CCJ will pool its resources. Antiguans. Continue to think rationally and not be caught up in false propaganda! Congrats, Antigua!

  8. I’m so proud of Antiguan’s & Barbudan’s for not being fooled again by this administration!. Bury CCJ forever!!. When the right Administration is in office and the judicial system is functioning independently of politics then Antigua & Barbuda will establish its own supreme court on its own turf!.

  9. The only how this can ever pass is if they keep politicians out of it i would have voted yes but from the time i see lovel and Gaston saying vote yes i said no something up these guys not going to side with shit……lol Gaston and lovel team up na na na

  10. Gaston u going on market street and cussing every Saturday is a disgrace to this country,you giving the people their back pay on the same day is a disgrace…..what we want u to focus on is doing something good for the mas of people in the country what have u done ….the upp gave the school meal program ,uniform grant ,moving pension from 250 to 1000 across the board as long as u qualify not saying that the upp did not have their faults,but u guys had 38 or more years before they got 10 years now u back at it again and what are u doing for the majority of people. The roads are in a mess u keep borrowing without bringing any new plans to the table other than selling passports or begging china soon we will be back in slavery. The water situation is a mess but will give u some time on that one since i see new pipes running,and please make sure the 20 million pounds from England is spent on the roads and that thf roads are done correctly

  11. This colonialism talk just does not make any sense to me. This was a referendum and the best advice came from Lovell…vote your conscience. It showed that people need to be given a chance to make up their own minds as to what they really want. Bribes have no place here.

    Politicians needs to know when to step aside.

  12. Anyone where can i find the video with gaston crying when the little boy from barbuda gave him the letter

  13. Many people in Antigua, myself included, believe that it is a wonderful to be a free and independent country. However, we also like that Antigua is a member of the Commonwealth and also has the ability to have access to the Privy Council.

    If we could find out a way to make access to the Privy Council cheaper, then the problem would be solved. How about if Antigua makes an agreement with the Privy Council that the judges will come to the Caribbean every 6 months to hear cases. This way, we do not have to spend airfare and hotel to go to the UK for cases.

      • Yes, I think the Privy Council offering video/internet conferences to hear cases from Antigua would be great. It would totally take away the argument about the Privy Council being ‘too expensive’ for the common-man of Antigua because of travel, etc.

        If we do not have the Privy Council, then let’s just have our own Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court (ABSC). I am tired of Antigua joining all these weird Caribbean organizations.

  14. CLEARLY …ANTIGUANS DONT TRUST THE CARIBBEAN JUSTICES ….they have NO FAITH in this INSTITUTION….

    CLEARLY….the JUSTICES NEED TO CONVINCED THE PPL THEY ARE WORTHY OF MAKING DECISIONS THAT CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE INFLUENCED BY ANYONE THEIR DECISIONS ARE BASED ON FACTS…..

    TEK DAT IN YOU NENEN GASTON…..

  15. tek dat Amaya Athill
    tek dat Cecile Hill
    tek dat politrickans
    tek dat Justin Simon
    tek dat Adrian Saunders
    tek dat Colin O’Neal (Beef must be happy)
    tek dat Andy Liburd
    tek dat Dr. Clarence Henry
    tek dat Anthony Astaphan
    tek dat Cornel Hughes

    • One cannot be more stupid to think that these people have lost. They for the most part have the means to pay for a case to go to the Privy Council. They did this for the less fortunate. And sad that those are the people that stayed home and showed a lack of interest in the issue.

  16. Antigua did create HISTORY…This person Peter Wickham, wears specks that are one sighted or one sided. The mere fact that this was a Historical situation, it and the People of Antigua did make HISTORY. Peter wanted it to go the way HE wanted for his agenda but that does not soil the fact that HISTORY was not made. Whether you was FOR or AGAINST, HISTORY was made.

    Mr. Wichham, this now proves to me and many others, that there is some level of education or learn-ed you missed in due respect. Please review what is HISTORY 101, and then come back to any forum before making such words or statements.

    Kudos to the people of Antigua for making HISTORY.

    NOW, for politicians, and those in the Court systems or similarity, don’t be disappointed, this only reveals that the people has a dire issue with these systems. This has nothing to do with slavery, money or the likes but as someone stated, the problem is ASSURANCE of some level of TRUST. Two words that makes you and breaks you in Politics; ASSURANCE and TRUST.

    As many people have said it before, where are the Accountability, Transparency, and etcs, these little necessities are what the CARIBBEAN Politicians fail to provide to the peoples. These little necessities comforts the peoples’ questions and gives some form of level of ASSURANCE even if you don’t TRUST the politicians.

    Caribbean politician comes into power, gets over $30million in personal assets and a small minority who supports them gets progressive but ALL the picky head poor people on both sides of the political divide still remain wobbling in the cess pool of the gutters while that politician is in power or after he comes out of power. References – Sheriff Marshall, Lord Garbage Brown, The Robin, The Bird, The Asslot, Thiefing FiFA Green and a few others even on the blue side. Where is the TRUST that these picky-head poor people voted for in these individuals. Where is it?

    Some one else stated that their Politicians are a bunch of immature children. I asked him to explain, he pointed out a few high profile cases stemming back about 15 to 20 years in our court systems that are in one day and out a next and then in again for a few times and that would lead one to believe, even that there is no hard evidence to such, that it seems that some politicians is jerrymandering with our court system. One case I remembered vividly, is when some issue between UPP and ALP and the LEARNED judge made her summation in less than 2 minutes which favored the ALP but even caught them off guard that day. When the case went to appellate, even the SEASONED LEARNED judges stated as all laymen on the streets that this judge “deliberately’ made the wrong summation, hence, the case was in favor of the UPP. Guess what? this judge is still in our court systems. And another, that up to this day, after many accusations of unwanted sexual overtures to males and young females, this funeral wake politician have never seen the supposedly sexual crimes unit with in the force. WHAT Assurance do we have when the wrongs don’t pay the penalties or at least seemed to pay for their consequences?

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