National Security Minister Peter Bunting has said that replacing the Privy Council, based in London, and accepting the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica’s final court is a way to emancipate the island completely from years of slavery, according to reports from carribean360.com.
The debate over the Caribbean Court of Justice took place simultaneously with Jamaica’s debate on reparations.
He noted that “both address the impact of slavery and colonialism on the societies of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.”
Bunting also noted that Jamaicans were not fully free as long as “mental slavery” was still evident in Caribbean politics.
“To illustrate this we don’t have to move beyond the fact that only once in our 52 years of Independence has an entrenched section of our Constitution been changed. This is because changing an entrenched section requires the cooperation of the Opposition with the Government, and in only one case has an Opposition been able to resist the appeal of partisan political advantage and instead do what is manifestly in the interest of the nation.”
He pointed out that having the Privy Council preside over the Jamaican court system still rings of the dominion England had over the Caribbean in the past.
“That we persist with these anachronisms confirms that we hold on to the belief of our own inferiority,” he said. “In the case of our final court, we cling to the belief notwithstanding powerful evidence to the contrary such as: a) judges of the highest calibre are produced locally; b) the high quality of the CCJ judgments; and c) the independence of the CCJ.”
Not everyone agrees with the minister though as the Jamaica Labour Party reportedly has said it will not support the island joining the CCJ unless there is a national referendum.
“Our people deserve to see us lead in this direction towards a national self-confidence and away from a belief in our own inferiority and a corresponding awe of our former master’s power.”