The new court term for the Caribbean Court of Justice opened today. Speaking on the occasion, President Justice Adrian Saunders reflected on the successes of the past year and what those milestones mean for the development of the CARICOM region.
The case which Justice Saunders referred to was when Belize filed a lawsuit against Trinidad & Tobago and Saint Kitts & Nevis in October last year. Belize accused the two countries of violating the Treaty of Chaguaramas after they both filed to apply the Common External Tariff (CET) when they imported brown sugar from Belize’s geographic neighbor, Guatemala. This tariff should be applied if a CARICOM state imports a product outside of the Caribbean Community. Outside of that milestone case, Justice Saunders noted that it continues to work on its five-year strategic plan. He explained some of the work to achieve these goals.
Justice Adrian Saunders, President Caribbean Court of Justice: “We implemented a scheme for monitoring and evaluating our progress in accomplishing our strategic plan and as the executing agency for the Canadian funded Jurist Project we supported several justice delivery initiatives across the region. We engaged in a wide range of training initiatives with judges and staff of the court and through our partnership with bodies such as the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers, the CCJ Academy for Law and the Global Judicial Integrity Network a UN agency of which I’m and advisory board member, we assisted in legal and judicial education programs not just throughout the region but also beyond. Of course while we have made strides in these and other areas we recognize that there is still more work to be done and so over the next judicial year we will remain responsive and resilient. We shall continue to implement our strategic plan paying particular regard to developing the mechanisms for more meaningful interaction with our stakeholders whether through our website or through social media or by other means. The CCJ is your court the people of the Caribbean and we believe that all citizens of CARICOM must know how their court works and how what we do impacts on you.”
The Court has been operating since 2005. Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana have the CCJ as their final Court of Appeal.