Our Readers' Opinions
January 24, 2014

No mechanism to enforce all judgments made by CCJ

Fri Jan 24, 2013

Editor: Caribbean nationals were surprised to learn last week that there is no mechanism to enforce all judgments made by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). This surprise disclosure was made last week by a judge of the CCJ, Rolston Nelson when he addressed broadcasters in Jamaica last week.{{more}}

This means that the Bds $77,240 judgment obtained by the young Jamaican woman, Shanique Monique against the Barbados government for wrongfully denying her entry in the country, and for illegal cavity search by immigration officers, might encounter some problems before she can reap the fruits of the award.

Justice Nelson said that there is no power in the national laws for a CCJ order to be treated as a national order. My humble suggestion is that the agreement establishing the CCJ should be amended to make CCJ judgments in its original jurisdiction be enforceable as judgments in the appellate jurisdiction. I am amazed that the powers to be did not see the wisdom to include this clause when drafting the agreement.

The CCJ judge explained to broadcasters that there are several regional integration treaties that do not have coercive power to enforce their judgments.

However legal experts feel that there are powerful reasons to impel a judgment debtor on the original jurisdiction to comply with a CCJ judgment. Investigations reveal that save and except the Monique case all the other orders have been complied with. Barbados is a country which observes Rule of Law and one wonders why there is a delay in honoring an order from the highest court of the land.

Monique is a Jamaican national and Jamaica has not joined the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction, but she was entitled to move to the CCJ in its original court which she did successfully. Only three countries, Guyana, Barbados and Belize have abolished appeals from the Privy Council and accepted the CCJ as their final court.

Meanwhile Justice Rolson is calling for a re-examination of the US$100 million trust fund that has been established to fund the regional court. The fund has been established amid concerns that the judges would be paid by governments which could exert decisive informal pressure on them to deliver judgments favourable to regional governments.

The judge said that in light of the economic downturn the fund is not generating enough interest as was anticipated when it was established in 2008.

Oscar Ramjeet