Preparations for the Referendum on whether or not the Caribbean Court of Justice will replace the Privy Council as the twin island nation’s finally appellate court have intensified.
A team of media professionals and communications specialists have been brought on board to drive the campaign for citizens to vote for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final court of appeal.
Attorney General the Hon. Steadroy Cutie Benjamin laid out the framework for moving the process ahead during a meeting with the team on Monday morning.
He stressed that the process will remain apolitical as it is important that Antiguans and Barbudans are not swayed by their political preference in voting for a constitutional change that is best for the country.
Benjamin brought the group of professionals up to date as to where the process has reached in getting the country ready for the important referendum.
He explained that the first reading of the Antigua and Barbuda Constitution Amendment Act has already taken place. Debate on the bill will therefore take place in September, Benjamin explained.
The Attorney General also pointed out that Grenada will also hold its referendum on the very same day that Antigua and Barbuda will hold theirs, November 6. This, he noted, presents opportunities for the two countries to assist each other in their preparations through an exchange of resources.
Benjamin noted that Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence is not fully complete until it relinquishes its dependence on the British Privy council as its final court of appeal and instead make use of the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The Caribbean Court of Justice has developed an impressive track record over the past few years of quality decisions on a range of matters adjudicated by qualified with competent and efficient judges who can readily identify with the cultural and social circumstances of Antigua and Barbuda and the rest of the Caribbean.
The Attorney General pointed out that even the Privy Council has been referencing the judgments handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in their rulings.
In the meantime, the team of professionals, supported by the legal staff of the Attorney General’s office has fully committed to the information and sensitization campaign that will be rolled out shortly.