PM Says Independence Would Not Be Complete With Privy Council As Final Court

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Antigua and Barbuda is celebrating its 37th anniversary of political independence from Britain on Thursday, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne saying that independence would not be complete with London still being in control of the country’s judicial system.

Voters go to the polls on November 6 in a referendum to decide whether to retain the Privy Council or choose instead the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the island’s final court.

Prime Minister Browne in a radio and television broadcast said that it was necessary for the island to remember the history of the trade union movement as well as the right to vote in the country before the attainment of independence.

He said there were those who are still opposed to the move towards the CCJ, which was established in 2001 and also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement.

“They know, but they refuse to say it that only the wealthy or specially funded persons can access appeals to the British Privy Council even up to today. They know that it costs more than EC$150,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) on average to take a case to London and that no poor person in Antigua and Barbuda has ever been able to do so.”

Browne said those opposed to the move know “that by retaining the Privy Council they are depriving the ordinary citizens of our country to justice to which every one of them is rightly entitled.

“They also know that access to justice is affordable with the Caribbean Court of Justice. That is a fully and independent appellate court. It is funded by a trust fund, not directed by any government. No government has a hand in the appointment of judges, they are appointed by an independent Caribbean legal services commission.”

Browne told the nation that in the 13 years since it had been in operation, the CCJ “has handed down more decisions against governments than for them.

“They know that the CCJ is a court for the people, built by Caribbean people for all the people. But it suits them even in this 37th year of our independence to deny our people pride in who we are and what we are, and to make us as inferior by suggesting that we do not have the integrity to preside over our own dispensation of justice”.

Prime Minister Browne said this “type of self-hatred and condemnation of our own has no place in our modern and enlightened society”.

He told the nation that on November 6, they must show the naysayers and others “that we believe in ourselves, that we are the inferior of none, that we have confidence in our capacity and certainly in our own.

“We must show them they are the backward looking ones mired in partisan politics and selfishness,” he added.

In his address, Prime Minister Browne also told citizens that despite the challenges the twin-island nation has accomplished much to be proud of.

“Antigua and Barbudans live in a country where the air of freedom and economic opportunity is breathed by all where no one lives in fear for their opinion being stifled or of their rights being constrained,” Browne said in his independence message.

He said these were not conditions available to the population before independence, adding “there was much inequality based on race and class and of colour”.

Browne said the health sector stands out like a jewel in the list of accomplishment since independence and thanked “those heroes” whom he said had the foresight to ensure that their descendants should have a better future.

“They made it possible for us to be where we are today. Their legacy must never be squandered, nor their struggle wasted. They looked to the future and even as we honour them we must look to the future too,” Browne said in his radio and television broadcast.

He said the future must include a stable financial environment, better education, improved health services as well as full employment among other goals “for all our peoples whatever their background.

“This is not an impossible dream. We are not striving to reach and unreachable star or to fight an unbeatable foe. This is a glorious quest for which we have already begun the resolute march with measurable and evidence success.”.

Browne said that his administration will be spending millions of dollars in developing the infrastructure of the island and ensuring employment opportunities for all nationals.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque has praised the island’s “invaluable contribution” to regional integration.

“Under your leadership as Head of Government responsible for Services within the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet, Antigua and Barbuda has advanced the region’s efforts, as it seeks to build competitiveness, unleash key economic drivers to growth and address the grave challenges to its financial services,” LaRocque said in his congratulatory message to Prime Minister Browne.

He said that Antigua and Barbuda has made great strides in its development since independence.

“Indeed the theme for this year’s Independence celebration, “Antigua and Barbuda: Forward Together” is an apt reflection of the firm determination and steadfastness of the Antiguan and Barbudan people in their efforts to ensure the sustainable development of the nation,” he added.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I usually agree with PM Browne on everything, but I disagree with him on the CCJ. I agree with him that we need to act, behave and develop institutions that determine our own future as an independent nation but the CCJ is not the way to go about it.

    Antigua and Barbuda does not need a Privy Council, but it also does not need a CCJ! What Antigua and Barbuda needs its own Supreme Court (ABSC). We need to trusting ourselves as an independent nation and to allow ourselves to have our own final Supreme Court.

    Antigua and Barbuda is a very special nation in the Caribbean. I think we have an opportunity to become the ‘Singapore of the Caribbean’ in the future and the CCJ would just take away from our own nation building efforts.

    I support your ideas PM Browne on this topic, but I do not support the CCJ concept.

    • If you believe we should have our own Supreme Court than we should also have our own Appeals Court and our own High Court and Magistrate Court. That means dismantling institutions like the Easter Caribbean Supreme Court and all that comes with it. Perhaps you would also suggest getting out of the ECCU and get our own currency.
      Sorry but for a small Islands we would not be able to afford all of that. That is why the many if these Islands when they got independent remained with the Privy Council. But in 2001 they came together and decided to form a court for their own. So the CCJ is as much Antiguan and Barbudan as it is Jamaican, Barbadian, Trinidadian and so on so on.
      And as a REAL RASTA their should be no doubt whatsoever for you to support something away from our colonial pass and support something closer to home. Something created by ourselves for ourselves. If you have any doubt about the British Court system how it is prejudice against black West Indians just go to England and see how especially our Ratafarian brethren have been harassed and put in jail in large numbers. It is the same white judges that throw them in jail for any little crime they commit.
      Whenever a black person in England find himself or herself at the wrong side of the law. God be with him/her. And here in the Caribbean we seem to think they are the only one that will provide us with fair justice? Our people really have a mental problem.
      Many songs are written by mainly Jamaican Reggae artists about the treatment of the Police and the Legal system against them and the black community in England. Here are a few:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uvY5qU7ayg
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isMjvRpAckU&list=PLF73648E4BEC0B4EE
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUGhkty4oZs
      We are generation that is called upon now to set the stage for the new development of our country and for our children and their children. We are now enjoying the freedom that was fought for us by our forefathers. When we vote to go to the CCJ we will be setting the fruits for our children to enjoy. Our children will then have the opportunities we didn’t have. To reach to the highest court of our people. Which the entire world will admire them for. maybe you want to deny your children that. But I don’t. I was part of the movement to get independent and now I’m part of the same movement to complete that independence by voting to go to our own APEX Court. I am first if all Antigua and Barbudan but second to that I’m a Caribbean Man. Just like Cricket, no matter what come I will not stop supporting my team. England never thought we could have ruled the cricket world for so many year if at all. It was because we were united. And it is only the British Colonies that stayed with the British Supreme Court after they gain independence. One way to still control them. The next thing to go will be the Governorship. We need a President. No body that answers symbolically to the Queen. That also needs to go in due time

  2. Nice try ,Prime Minister! There you go again! Tell the truth and nothing but the truth! CCJ won’t make us truly independent- leaving the Commonwealth and becoming self-sufficient will! Not this hidden CCJ agenda!

  3. I usually agree with PM Browne on everything, but I disagree with him on the CCJ. I agree with him that we need to act, behave and develop institutions that determine our own future as an independent nation but the CCJ is not the way to go about it.

    Antigua and Barbuda does not need a Privy Council, but it also does not need a CCJ! What Antigua and Barbuda needs its own Supreme Court (ABSC). We need to trusting ourselves as an independent nation and to allow ourselves to have our own final Supreme Court.

    Antigua and Barbuda is a very special nation in the Caribbean. I think we have an opportunity to become the ‘Singapore of the Caribbean’ in the future and the CCJ would just take away from our own nation building efforts.

    I support your ideas PM Browne on this topic, but I do not support the CCJ concept.

  4. Yeah Independence would not be complete if we have to import every single thing we consume
    Independent will not be complete with the queen as head of state
    Independence is not complete if we still can’t get the US to pay us the 250 million dollars they owe

  5. Mr. PM please wake up from your dream Sir. How can voting for the CCJ will make us a fully independence state? Your facts are not justify enough. When we are still using outdated constitution that was written and given to us by our colonial masters; we still have the Queen of England on our money; Ninety-nine percentage (99%) of the food we consume are imported from oversea…meaning we can’t feed ourselves; we have no manufacturing factory like our neighboring Caribbean countries to make our own clothing, etc… Who’re you trying to fool Sir? I know not me.

  6. Is ANTIGUA realllyyyy INDEPENDENT…..

    The constant begging from financial institutions and other governments

    The importation of everything we consume electronics clothing medicines NOTHING we manufacture for ourselves besides ….SUSIE HOT SAUCE😜😜😜😜..

    ANTIGUA ISNT INDEPENDENT….
    When ANTIGUA CAN STAND ON ITS OWN WITHOIUT ASSISTANCES…

  7. If we are so INDEPENDENT…

    WHY IS THE QUEENS LIKENESS STILL ON OUR MONEY

    WE ARE APART OF CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY..IN EACH OF THESE COUNTRIES SOMEONE HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS

    WHY ISNT THE BESTEST PRIME MINISTER IN THE HISTORY OF ANTIGUA …THE LATE HONORABLE DR V.C BIRD SNR….

  8. If ANTIGUA is soooooo INDEPENDENT WHY WE ALWAYS BEGGING MONEY FROM FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNMENTS…

    WHY THIS PRIME MINISTER BEGGSSS SO MUCH

    WHY WE DONT MANUFACTURE ANTHING BESIDES SUSIE HOT SAUCE

    WHY THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS STILL WEAK

    WHY THE PM BEGGGS AND POOR PEOPLE PAY BACK

    WHY TREASURY EMPTY
    WHY HE TELLING CIVIL WORKERS IF THEM DNT VOTE FOR CCJ … NO PAY….HE WAITING TO SEE THE OUTCOME BEFORE HE PAYS YOU

    POOR ESTABLISHED WORKERS YOU DNT EVE COUNT….

  9. Oh sorry I forgot rum…EH5 EH10…my bad…

    SORRY FELLOW ANTIGUNS WE ARE NOT INDEPENDENT AS WE THINK WE ARE….

    PAPA FACE SHOULD BE ON OUR MONEY….

    WE INDEPENDENT FROM ENGLAND AS WE SAY SHOULDNT WE SEVERE ALL TIES TO ENGLAND…..but we can’t cos we always kissing the asses of our oppressors…we need their handouts and affirmation to feel relevant…..

    INDEPENDENT MEANS….I DNT NEED ANYONES ASSISTANTSHIPS

  10. Vote for the CCJ people and free ourselves from mental slavery. Why would you want to stay with a white man court system that was responsible for supporting slavery in the past. Come on people let makes a different.

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