September 18, 2009
‘SVG safer in hands of Privy Council’

No matter how much he is criticised, Sir James Mitchell does not intend to change his opinion about the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).{{more}}

“I can take this on. I expect plenty licks in this referendum. But they are not coming any worse than I had it before.”

As he spoke with Searchlight on Wednesday at his home at Casson Hill, the former Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines warned about this country moving from the British Privy Council to the CCJ at the final court of appeal.

“Once we get rid of the Privy Council, we can’t get it back. Some time in the future, we will be able to go there, but I am not so sure that we have the checks and balances in our society to match what we have up there (the Privy Council).

Sir James noted: “They have a powerful media in the UK.”

He then questioned: “How many law books have been written by a West Indian?”

Sir James said 30 years of independence in St. Vincent and the Grenadines could not be compared with the evolution of British history.

“If we [are] going into a new constitution, this arrogance about ‘Vincentians will do it’, I don’t go for. I will take intellect where I find it.”

He said despite what some may think, he does not look down on Caribbean people.

“I am one of them,” he asserted. “My closest affiliates in the Caribbean were people like Eric Williams and Errol Barrow.

“There is nothing I am more passionate about than the Caribbean,” he declared, but lamented that in his view, current day leaders are “not in the old mould”.

“I don’t think they have the calibre of people necessary on the CCJ.”

“We want to rush to perfection and we don’t understand systems and how they work.”

The avowed regionalist said he expected to be strongly criticised for his views, but intends to stick to them.