Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has restated his preference for the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ highest court.
He told Parliament on Thursday that there are some people who believe that the only way to get justice is to go to the London-based Privy Council, which is currently SVG’s highest court.
I’m a Caribbean Court of Justice man,” Gonsalves said during the debate on the Attorney General’s Reference (Constitutional Questions) Bill.
He noted that his government held a referendum on that question.
Replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ as SVG’s highest court was one of the proposed changes to the Constitution that the Vincentian electorate rejected in a referendum in 2009.
“… in time, I’m confident that the people will see it,” Gonsalves said about his desire to see the nation switch from the Privy Council to the CCJ.
“I may not be in politics at that time, I may not even be at this side of eternity,” said Gonsalves, who will turn 72 in August.
“But, Mr. Speaker I’m not going to allow anybody to scare me into not supporting the Caribbean Court of Justice. This is not an occasion for that debate, but there are some people who don’t – including at the Bar in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who feel that way,” he said.
The prime minister also did not indicate whether he would consider a referendum on the CCJ question as a stand-alone issue, rather than bundled with many of the other controversial questions of the 2009 referendum.