Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, has yet again made a pitch for a referendum to be held on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Benjamin’s latest call was made in Parliament on Tuesday, October 19. He made a similar call – his second – in July 2019, after the Government lost the November 6, 2018 vote on the matter.
For a country to be truly independent, it must control the three arms of Government – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary – Benjamin says.
To support his point, he quoted a Trinidad & Tobago judge, who said it is an affront to a country’s sovereignty when a foreign tribunal has to adjudicate on cases as its final arbiter.
Up to now, the Privy Council remains Antigua and Barbuda’s apex court, a situation that Benjamin terms as unsatisfactory.
Benjamin says the time has long passed for this Nation and regional people to develop their own Caribbean judicial system, and it is time for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to become more forward-thinking
The Attorney General advised the Prime Minister that, at the right time, the Administration should hold a second referendum on the CCJ.
Benjamin says he has every confidence that a regional appellate court could dispense fair judgments. Contrary to popular belief, he says that the governments do not have any influence on the arbiters of the court.