Antigua votes in favour of staying with Privy Council

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne said he had discharged his duty to the nation. (iWN file photo)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Antigua and Barbuda Tuesday voted in favour of retaining the London-based Privy Council as its final court, according to the preliminary figures released here.

The Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) said that of the 17,743 votes counted, the “No” vote secured 9,234 as against 8 509 for the “Yes” vote.

Voters here had been casting ballots to decide whether to retain the Privy Council or instead move to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) that was established in 2001 to be the region’s final court.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne had hoped that Antigua and Barbuda would have joined Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana as the only CARICOM countries to be full members of the CCJ that also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty governing the 15-member CARICOM grouping.

“I have discharged my responsibility to make the option of transitioning from the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda. I think it is a great opportunity for them.

“I urge them to go out and vote ‘yes’ . . . and in any event whatever the decision I will be guided accordingly, but as far as I am concerned I have delivered in the responsibility to make this very important option available to the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne said, soon after casting his ballot on Tuesday.

But the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) has said it is not supportive of the move to replace the Privy Council and had urged supporters to vote their conscience.

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ABEC said that 33.5 per cent of the electorate voted in the referendum and that the “No” vote had secured 52.04 per cent with the “Yes” vote gathering 47.96 per cent.

The chairman of the National Coordinating Committee on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Ambassador Clarence Henry, said while he is disappointed in the results “the people have spoken and we accept the verdict.

“The result is a result that demonstrates democracy. The people have spoken and certainly we will need to reflect on the loss. However, I am of the firm conviction that as we move towards consolidation of the regional integration movement, our people whether in St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada or Antigua, the greater appreciation of the institutions that we have created will become even more appreciated, celebrated in order for us to find our place in the global community.”

Henry said it is imperative for the region to “build our Caribbean institutions, no matter the struggles, no matter the challenges and no matter the defeats.

“We must redouble our efforts at deeper and fuller education of our institutions and; place them within the curriculum of our schools in the region,” he told the Caribbean Media Corporation.

Head of the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), Peter Wickham, whose organisation had conducted an opinion poll and had predicted that the “yes” vote would have received the required support to take the island into the CCJ, expressed disappointment at the outcome.

“I am not Antiguan but I am disappointed for Antigua and the rest of the Caribbean. I think this is an unfortunate result equally so because the same thing was replicated in Grenada (today) and I really do hope that in the future we can get back on track.

“But the most I can say is that I am disappointed. I think this is an opportunity for Antigua and Barbuda to have created history and to set a course of a circle of development and ultimately the population said no,” he added.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Gaston Browne should now resign.

    Because if Peter Wickham and his company CADRES were involved they would only be so because they were employed and paid a large sum of money to influence the minds of Antiguans by psychological and other means. Obviously that did not work and Wickham was annoyed about that, why otherwise would he have interest in such matters, he is a Bajan living in Barbados.

    • Jolly Green, your reasoning baffles me.

      Gaston Brown had one of the major elections victories in the history of Caribbean politics. Resign because a referendum on one issue did not go the way he planned? Explain your logic in that.

      Compare it to SVG, where the No vote on the referendum were successful but shortly after the ULP retained government in the elections. Stop mixing apples and grapes. Be more thoughtful in your analogies.

      • Elections in SVG were stolen by rigged elections, bribery and ballot box stuffing. I think it is common place in all the Caribbean.

      • Jolly Green, if this is true, why did the ULP lose the 2009 referendum? Why didn’t the party just use bribery and ballot stufffing to win? Why didn’t the ruling parties in Antigua/Barbuda and Grenada do same on November 6 to win?

        Peter Binose, you will never better.

    • Remember Wickham was doing a job for $$$$ so she was wrong I wonder what would be her predictions if Barbados had to hold a referendum on this ccj weather to leave or stay ??

      • Whomever Jolly Green is, she needs help of which I cant help offer her. Her comments are dumbfounding to say the least!!!!

  2. The love of the white man laws.My God when are black people going to wake up.White people water ain’t taste better than ours.Stop thinking the whitean is better than you.

  3. Good going Antigua. I hope Vincentians are not easily swayed when this issue is returned to SVG.

    I am not a fan of the Privy Council but as a lawyer, I rather stick to the evil we know. The CCJ has too many concerns for me, a believe in the dispensation of JUSTICE in its true sense.

    The accession of a Vincentian as the Head of the CCJ is not enough to convince me that the concerns of many will not exist.

      • Jolly Green, you make no sense. Unlike you who seem to have some objective etc., I am an independent thinker. I am legally trained and my responses are void of political parties or agenda. My eyes are not tainted, neither will I ever compromise my conscience.

        If you check all my comments on the CCJ, you will see that I have always maintained that I AM NOT IN FAVOR OF THE CCJ AS THE FINAL APPELLATE COURT.

        You really need to so some personal introspection because your comments leave a lot to be desired.

        NOW WHAT?

  4. WICKHAM’S DISAPPOINTMENT

    Don’t be fooled by sentimentality when a pollster said he is ‘…disappointed for Antigua and the rest of the Caribbean?

    Well, Peter Wickham may not ‘needlessly’ feel that way. Not for the people of Antigua and Barbuda
    whose ‘…destiny’ is really not in his hands or the poll he has conducted.’

    He may only feel that way because the ‘…Referendum’s results wandered, numerically, far away from his agency’s prediction and/or expectations.

    The Vincentian electorate previously said ‘…No’ [2009], while the Grenadian electorate emphatically said ‘No x 2’ [2016 & 2018].

    That said, ‘…What has the rest of the Caribbean to do with the ‘…Referendum’s Poll prediction or mis-prediction of CADRES?’

    Pollsters do not determine results, ‘…neither for national elections, nor referendums.’ Only voters do.

    Always try to feel the majority or entire pulse of the nation, including non-voters.
    Then he would know the ‘…beat of the nation’s pulse.’

  5. DEFENCE OF JOLLY GREEN

    Don’t know whether he is ‘…jolly or green,’

    But recently read a commentary at ‘…Antigua News Room – Has the so-called 21st Century….’

    Deduced he has some issues with the leadership of certain regional countries.

    Don’t agree, without facts of the suggested ‘…influences.’ However, the latter part of his comment seems
    ‘…most logical.’

    Peter Wickham’s agency was contracted to ‘…feel the pulse of the voters,’ but the instrument used appeared to have malfunctioned.

    • RP the Wickham agency is not just a polling test agency, part of the service is to convince the public how to vote so as their polls come true. Favourable polls issued days before such events are all part of convincing people to vote for the conceived winning side, because in theory no one wants to back a loser.

      Peter Wickham like the Oakes Bros is a sly fish.

    • By the way that opinion or whatever one wishes to call it has appeared all over the internet news and information sites except on this media. I am not knocking them because I never submitted to to them as they are within the reach of some very nasty people, not that they would have published, its not their kind of story.

  6. Hi, the vote in Antigua was not against the CCJ, but rather against Gaston Browne. You see the supporters of the upp party are still hurt because they lost the last election, so they went out and voted no just to get back at Gaston thinking they would have gotten some kind of victory over him, forgetting that when they wake up the next day that Gaston will stii be the prime minister. Hi the CCJ is a forward movement and it’s the right thing to do. People are saying fix this and fix this before going to the CCJ. Let me ask were all the problems in our primary school and secondary schools fix before we had the University of the West Indies. Or we should have fix the problems in our schools first then move to have our own University, if that were the case we will still be fixing problems and would not have had the University of the West Indies today that so many people are bosting about today. So vicentian wake up and don’t let some of these same people who went to the University of the West Indies talk out of voting for the CCJ, the privy council was set up to defend the slave master not to help the black man so I say CCJ all the way.

  7. As it is with every result of an election _ … some will be happy while others will be sad; some will be smiling and others will be grumbling. The winning side will be celebrating and complimenting whilst the losing side will be chastising and blaming. We are all used to it. Some things will just not change.

  8. I want congratulate the citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada for their wise and prudent decision in rejecting the CCJ as their court of last resort. We have seen the corrupt justice system in T&T. ” For lack of vision , the people perish.” Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser. Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. (Prov. 9:9) He who gets wisdom loves his soul :He keeps understanding will find good. (Prov.19:8).

  9. SURE EDITOR WOULD PUBLISH

    One cannot cross a bridge until he meets it.

    Jolly Greene, sure as ‘…Nine Mornings’ would come that the Editor Kenton Chance would publish if emailed.

    Remember an Editor reserves the right not to publish or to request a contributor to ‘…re-edit.’

    This may necessarily mean adjusting some parts of the manuscript that ‘…may not fit the vision or policy of their portals.

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