The debate on the future of the Privy Council initiated by Lord Phillips last week continues.   the question in the Caribbean is whether it should be replaced by the Caribbean Court of Justice (the judges of which are pictured right).   In a thoughtful article in the Antigua Sun it is said that the reactions ranged from “outright embarrassment” to “we told you so”.

The DPP, Keir Starmer, on a visit to Jamaica, has now joined in.  He is quoted in the Jamaica Observer as saying that it is “Jamaica and the Jamaican people to decide which court they want to have as their final court of appeal”

Asked whether he agreed with Lord Phillips, he replied that “I would not want to influence the decision one way or the other”.

The DPP was speaking at a reception given in his honour at the British High Commission in Jamaica.

The Government of Jamaica has said that it intends to put the issue to a referendum but admits that “no timeline has been set”.  We rather like the idea of putting the choice of the final court of appeal to the popular vote.  It is interesting to speculate how voters would have reacted to the choice between House of Lords and Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, back in the Caribbean, the Attorney-General of Trinidad, John Jeremie, in a statement quoted in the Trinidad & Tobago Express said that he was embarassed by Lord Phillips comments:

The position of the Government is that we should move with alacrity to our own indigenous final court-the Caribbean Court of Justice. Self-respect and independence demands nothing less,”

In contrast, the position of the opposition remains that they have “no confidence in the final court of appeal” in Trinidad & Tobago.  Opposition leader Basdeo Panday retains his faith in the Privy Council, despite having lost a high profile libel appeal there in 2005 (see Panday v Gordon [2005] UKPC 36)

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