Does the renewed interest in the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice have anything to do with the decision of the Privy Council in “Pratt and Morgan”?
The unfortunate coincidence of those events is a matter of grave concern. However, the answer must be NO and should be placed in historical perspective. What is often forgotten by detractors of the Court is that the revived interest in the Caribbean Supreme Court or Caribbean Court of Justice, as it is now called, had its origin in the Report of the West Indian Commission (1992) which predated the landmark decision of the Privy Council in Pratt and Morgan (1993) by one year. Indeed, the recommendation for the establishment of a Caribbean Supreme Court in substitution for the Privy Council and vested with original jurisdiction concerning the interpretation and application of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, even though one of the most seminal determinations of the West Indian Commission, was anticipated twenty years before by the Representative Committee of OCCBA set up to examine the establishment of a Caribbean Court of Appeal in substitution for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. In short, if Pratt and Morgan was a watershed in Caribbean jurisprudence, the West Indian Commission’s recommendation for a Caribbean Supreme Court was not an innovation in Caribbean judicial institutional development and is largely unrelated to popular perceptions of required sanctions for socially deviant behaviour. In point of fact, one of the most compelling arguments for the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice is the need to have an authoritative, regional institution to interpret and apply the Treaty, as amended, in order to create the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. But, unfortunately, the original jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice and its importance for the success of the CSME is little understood and even less appreciated by many members of the legal fraternity at the present time.
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