Dr. Douglas was on Thursday, 1st September, 2011, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Kittitian Sir Dennis Byron, as the second president of the Caribbean Court of Justice, (CCJ). The ceremony was held at Government House in Basseterre.
He explained that the member governments of the OECS are still trying to work out certain details and are of the view that all OECS countries should take a collective decision on the matter of joining the court as their final court of appeal.
Douglas however, expressed his confidence in the court and agreed that it is an important and necessary institution.
“It is important to re-iterate the point that the CCJ is a necessary and significant achievement for the people of Caribbean region. It represents a needed and crucial break with our colonial past as we continue our developmental processes, as independent countries and people of the Caribbean community” Mr. Douglas said as he commented on member countries of the OECS who have not as yet joined the CCJ.
“when studies have documented, the deleterious effects on our region, as scores of our educated citizens migrated to more developed countries back in the 1970’s and 80’s, it is quite heart-warming, but in no way surprising, that our own Caribbean people are leaving indelible marks in various capacities in the international arena; we shall continue to lore Caribbean people as illustrious examples of our potential, our determination and of course our fortitude”, said the Prime Minister.
The CARICOM Chairman continued by saying, that it is a significant recognition of the confidence in the judicial expertise and systems of the region and there is no doubt that the Caribbean Court of Justice will stand the test of time as an institution that would be noted throughout the world for fairness, professionals and adherence to the rule of law in its dispensation of Justice to our people and the business sector of the Caribbean Community.
“When the valiant effort, as it pertains to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy and the general development of the region, are considered against the seminal work of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, the appointing of Sir Byron, is inspiring and filled with hope and immense promise. In time unfortunately marked by the offshoot of international economic challenges and escalating numbers of incidents of violence and criminal activity, the CCJ becomes increasingly relevant, relevant to our collective efforts to navigate through these obstacles, whether through the discharge of its original or appellate jurisdiction.” said Mr. Douglas
The Prime Minister Continued by saying that as Chairman of Caricom it is his pleasure to congratulate, Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, KB, on behalf of the governments and people of member countries, for his stellar guidance and performance as president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
“After years of international learning, practice and exposure, Sir Dennis Byron has opted to return his vast legal expertise to the region of his birth in the capacity of President of the Caribbean court of Justice. He would continue to fulfil the expectations of Caribbean people and businesses for fair justice and protection of rights as the CCJ goes into its 6th year since its inauguration”, said the Caricom Chairman.
“I salute the work of the Caribbean Court of Justice and I note it’s thorough and fitting judicial pronouncements in wide and varied areas of the law and in its interpretation and application of the treaty of Chagaramus”, said Dr Douglas.
He added that he hopes, the outgoing president Mr Justice Michael de la Bastide TC, would continue to lend his voice and expertise to the development of the Caribbean region.
“Those who follow in Mr. de la Bastide’s footsteps must meet and surpass the bar that he has set so very high”, said the Federation’s PM.