Slow Voting In Historic Referendum


Voters in this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country were casting ballots on Tuesday to decide whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council as the island’s final court.

Slow polling in Antigua (CMC Photo)

Prime Minister Gaston Browne has urged citizens to exercise their franchise and  said he is pleased he had done all he could to ensure that nationals were in a position to make a reasonable judgement on the issue.

Antigua and Barbuda would need a two-thirds majority of those casting ballots to ensure that the Privy Council is replaced by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM.

Only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are fukll members of the CCJ that was established in 2001 even though the majority of the CAROICOM countries are signatories to the Court’s Original Jurisdiction.

“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.

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

Electoral officials warn that the rules which apply to the holding general elections would be enforced and that anyone contravening the laws could face up to six months in jail and or a fine of EC$500 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).

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  1. I wish Antigua and Barbuda would have a 3rd option, which is to have its own Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court (ABSC) as the final court of appeal. Why do we need a CCJ and why do we need a Privy Council? We do not need either one, we just need ourselves and to trust ourselves. No CCJ and No Privy Council.

  2. 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

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