by Linda Straker
- Grenadians voted no to CCJ referendum
- Prime Minister disappointed
For the second time in 2 years, Grenadians voted no to a referendum seeking to make the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice its final appellate court. The first occurred in 2016 when 12,635 voted against the move and 9,639 supported the move.
“I am disappointed, but the people have spoken,” Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell said in an interview on the Government Information Service (GIS) which occurred immediately after preliminary results from the Parliamentary Elections Office (PEO) website showed that 12,133 voted against referendum while 9,846 for the approval of the Bill.
“I accept the result; the people have spoken. We are in a democracy, the people have voted, we accepted, we move on,” he said assuring that he will not in the near or distant future introduce measures for Grenada to join the CCJ.
“I will not initiate another attempt at this time as Prime Minister,” said Dr Mitchell who felt that there are people who will continuously oppose such a move once he is serving as leader of the country. “It seems that as long as Keith Mitchell is here, I will oppose is the message from some,” he said.
Repeating his belief that the CCJ is the court that should be Grenada’s final appellate court, Dr Mitchell was of the opinion that the double message from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) contributed to more persons voting against the bill.
The NDC was originally part of the yes campaign but by the last week before the poll, the leader and other executive members called for a detail of the polls claiming that the bill was filled with flaws.
“The amount of propaganda that was spread in the last week of the campaign, it was unfortunate,” said the Prime Minister.
Alex Phillip, Supervisor of Elections said that 22,098 or 28% of registered voters participated in the referendum. Of that number there were 119 rejected ballots, 9,846 for the approval and 12,133 voted against the approval. In terms of percentage, he explained that 45.05% voted for the change and 54.39% against the change.
Grenada’s constitution mandates that for any amendment to be made, at least 2/3 of the voters who participate in a referendum must approve the proposal.
Established in 2003, the CCJ has two jurisdictions – an original jurisdiction and the appellate jurisdiction. In the original jurisdiction, the CCJ interprets and applies the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramus. In its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ hears appeals as the court of last resort for both civil and criminal matters from those member states which have stopped using the Privy Council.
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