‘I support the CCJ’ -Lovell

UPP Leader Harold Lovell

The leader of the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), Harold Lovell, has rejected suggestions that he should instruct supporters to vote for Antigua and Barbuda replacing the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court.

A joint statement issued following talks between Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin and Lovell, noted that the UPP leader had instead “insisted that there should be a non-political education process and persons think independently and focus on the issues presented”.

Lovell is reported to have told the Attorney General that from a personal standpoint, he supports the move towards the CCJ becoming the final appellate court.

“The CCJ is part of the process of Caribbean self-determination and constitutional decolonization.  I support the CCJ as I supported the move towards political Independence and CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) examinations,” he said.

Antigua and Barbuda will hold a referendum on November 6 in a bid to join Barbados, Dominica, Belize and Guyana that have all made the Trinidad-based CCJ that was established in 2001to replace the Privy Council, it final court.

The CCJ also functions as an internal tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.

Lovell reiterated that the UPP believes that a wider discussion on constitutional reform which would consider other constitutional amendments to be put before the public, would have been more effective. However, despite the difference in approach, he would not vote against the CCJ.

But Benjamin agreed that the matter is of grave national importance and expressed his desire for a position from the main opposition party and accepted that a nonpartisan approach would be best suited at this time.

“The move towards the CCJ as the final court for Antigua and Barbuda is true testimony of the value we place on the full utilization of our regionally honed human resources and in keeping with the continued thrust towards complete self-determination as a region,” Benjamin said,, adding that it “is imperative that we reduce our reliance on institutions that consider us a burden and move towards a most cost effective, timelier appellant system of justice”.

Attorney General Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin

The joint statement noted that both Benjamin and Lovell “agreed that there is a need for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to think independently. This referendum would be of a historic nature, being the first time the country has taken this important step.

“Both concurred that no matter who is in power, the Caribbean Court of Justice will serve the people of the nation,” the statement noted.

The Antigua and Barbuda government has already announced a “a non-stop campaign” ahead of the referendum, and prior to the meeting, Benjamin had described the position adopted by Lovell as irresponsible.

“A leader can’t sit back and make those type of statements. A leader must take the lead and make his followers follow. Convince them. That sort of statement…in my view …is made by a leader, who really requires a particular result. That is not leadership.”

Last week, former attorney general, Justin Simon, who served in the same government as Lovell, called on the electorate to put aside partisan politics, and view the referendum the collective interest of the country.

“This is what I will be pushing on the trail to promote the CCJ. I am not saying that people will not have their political difference, but let us sink them in respect to this particular cause,” Simon said during an interview on state media.

Meanwhile, the committee of stakeholders charged with executing the educational campaign for the CCJ, says it will to intensify its activities shortly.

The committee is headed by Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry and it says it plans “to take a multi-level approach in its education program, capturing the interest and concerns of the general public.

“The stakeholders’ committee will be unswerving in its commitment to ensuring that the public is made fully aware of its activities as soon as they are finalized,” it said in a statement.

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  1. “EDITORIAL: Justice costs money” Is an editorial that occurred on the OMG website today. In that editorial OMG once again tried rather than to educate to frustrate the people of Antigua and Barbuda, In its unqualified financial analysis OMG claimed that the trust funds set up to finance the CCJ may run out in 50 years. You would think with such a damaging statement one would at least see some annuity schedules and the projected growth or decline of the fund base on world market conditions. When calculating future value of money and pension funds just just do not do simple analysis like that. If things where that simplistic why should we spent years going to college studying finance. Simple calculation as NPV were not even part of their analysis. Just pure hugwash that was guggle up by those who are Nay Sayers towards going to the CCJ. By putting out this so called editorial Observer has once again proven what they are all about. Yes they had the money to go all the way to the Privy Council but should they therefore wish to deny all those less fortunate a change to one day if they need to, to take their case all the way to the final appellate court. I am one of the financially fortunate one if ever I would have to defend a case all the way to the Privy Council. But I hate that our people are been manipulated and deceive in every way possible to vote for something against their own best interest. Lets forget all the fear mongering that also is taking place and the prejudism of our own people. Something one can only contribute to mental slavery. Because humans are humans all over the world. Means mistakes can be made by anyone. The CCJ in its setup to me has broken all records of being the furthest from any political interference. Not one of its judges are appointed or chosen by our politician and the point is they can be chosen out of a worldwide pool. Therefore not necessary out of the Caribbean alone. Actually some of our Caribbean judges have sat on the Privy Council. As the Privy Council judges are also chosen from a common world of judges.
    Tenman I told you before OMG has a different agenda. It is not to educate the people. But to frustrate and cause confusion. This once again is an ‘editorial with none professional views from anyone of the finance profession. No one to explain simple questions. Just the editors unqualified opinion on a topic he or she has no knowledge of. If you have concerns about the funds depleting it would be more than normal to put those concerns to the professionals for them to make their statements. This really is becoming sad. And that is why they will become and remain irrelevant.
    Furthermore the information used to come to this opinion is outdated. Stock Markets have been souring since Trump is in office, And I can tell you I love it. Don’t even know now when to sell to cash in. Because everyone anticipate that this bubble will burst sometime soon.

    • Note that this comment was removed from OMG as they for whatever reason did not like what it is I wrote. So much for Free Speech as they profess to be.

  2. Harold Lovell is an attorney so I did not expected anything different in this statement. He was thinking as an attorney when he made his decision not as an opposition leader. For me, I say NO to the CCJ as the final court of appeal. The Privy Council does offer and handle Pro-Bono Cases.

    • And how many do they offer and which attorney will send his own time and money to go to London?
      Please it has been proven that if not for anything else the Privy Council is not accessible for the average man and woman. Only for those who are well of or supported by some private donors

  3. Why is Harold speaking about his personal perspective? Shouldn’t he be pushing the party’s point a view?
    If you get it wrong when you are in opposition wow. Opposition is easier than to be in government..Harold push the party point a view and keep your opinions to yourself. UNITY UNITY UNITY ONE VOICE ONE POSITION

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