Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. On 05 August 2023, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) hosted a sensitisation session for members of the Barbadian Judiciary at the Crane Resort, St Phillip, Barbados. This is the fourth installation of the regional sensitisation series which is being conducted by the Court to facilitate a deeper understanding of the CCJ’s role in protecting the rights under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the referral process.
The programme, funded by the European Union through the 11th European Development Fund, aims to raise awareness of the Court’s exclusive and compulsory jurisdiction to interpret and apply the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC), in its Original Jurisdiction (OJ). Under Article 211 of the RTC, any questions arising in a matter before a national court requiring the interpretation of the Treaty must be referred to the CCJ for determination. However, despite these provisions, in its 18-year history, there have been no referrals to the Court. This series is, therefore, critical to ensuring that courts are educated on these provisions.
In her opening remarks before the training, Her Excellency, Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, affirmed the EU’s commitment to strengthening the justice sector in partner countries: “Judicial cooperation is a key pillar of the EU’s partnership with the Caribbean,” she stated. “Such support is important as it is one of the main avenues for promoting democratic governance, the rule of law, respect of human rights, gender equality, citizen security, and thereby sustainable socio-economic development – all values which the EU upholds and which we believe it is important to promote.”
CCJ Judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Winston Anderson; Dr Chantal Ononaiwu, Director of External Trade at the CARICOM Secretariat and Dr Jan Yves Remy, Director, Shridath Ramphal Centre, The University of the West Indies were the main facilitators of the programme which focused on an overview of the CSME, the CCJ’s Original Jurisdiction and referrals. To allow for greater participation by attendees, an interactive session featured group simulation exercises on rights granted under the CSME as well as scenarios which may require a referral and the process of doing so.
It is intended that further sessions on referrals, the CSME and the OJ will be conducted with additional stakeholder groups in Barbados in October later this year, when the Caribbean Academy for Law, the educational arm of the CCJ, hosts its 7th Biennial Law Conference Criminal Justice Reform in the Caribbean: Achieving a Modern Criminal Justice System, at the Hilton Barbados Resort Hotel.