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The fallout from not grasping it

Enforcement remains yet a most thorny issue. This must have been an

observation coming out of last Friday’s Shanique Myrie Judgment –– if not

one of the several touted lessons to be learnt.

It requires, therefore, from our leaders profound forethought when they

embark upon new strands of governance; in particular, when they whine

and dine at Heads of Government level, producing thereafter dicta, the

implementation of which they do not understand and/or which they are lax

in incorporating into the laws of their sovereign states.

The Caribbean Court of Justice, by its Myrie ruling, has made it clear

that Barbadian law (as well as that of other member states) is secondary to

CARICOM edicts. The question is: why didn’t our political leaders present

themselves as knowing this before?

With misconception or amnesia reasonably to blame for the failure of

the powers that be to inform and instruct, our Immigration and Customs

officers –– and our police –– could hardly be any wiser. The Guyana bench

at the Grantley Adams International Airport would yet to be nailed to the

ground, and the Shanique Myries unceremoniously unentertained.

It is not opaque then that there is a disconnect between what is

uttered loftily and issued through sombre communiqués from the halls

of CARICOM and what continues to obtain in the political dominions

of our individual Caribbean leaders. It can hardly be successfully argued

that these Caribbean heads fully grasp the consequences of their declared

commitments at these Heads Of Government Conferences when

they return home, making not an iota of modification to their respective

island state laws.

If indeed we are wrong, and they do understand the gravity of their

pledges and obligations, perhaps on more sober reflection they recognize

their conflicts of purpose, and set upon doing nothing, hoping their dilemma

would quietly and unobtrusively go away.

And now that the Myrie Judgment has legally asserted that CARICOM

travellers have a right to entry of neighbouring states –– even up to six

months –– without impediment or hindrance, in the context of the 2007

Conference Decision and the Revised Treaty Of Chaguaramas,

Miss Myrie’s lawyer Clyde Williams is triumphantly trumpeting to all of

Jamaica that more Jamaicans –– workers and businesspersons –– need to

take their unresolved problems with their CARICOM partners to the CCJ.

In particular, Mr Williams was referring to the alleged unfair trade

practices of Trinidad and Tobago –– which have been said not to hasve

gone unnoticed and in some cases unchallenged in Barbados.

Caught unawares by the Myrie Judgment, CARICOM member states have

elected to place the landmark ruling high on the agenda of their November

meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Develpment in Grenada.

Says Antigua’s trade coordinator Ambassador Dr Clarence Henry: “We

look towards seeing the full judgment so that we can study it and learn from

it as a region . . . .”

Learn other than that the court has clearly defined and established

the rules of movement of CARICOM nationals in and out of jurisdictions,

we presume.

Ambassador Henry says the ruling underscores the need for “continuous

training of border security employees”. We aver that our leaders need to

be more circumspect, forthright and forthcoming after they have had their

private club meetings. The life, times and rights of the nations they lead

depend upon it.

The irony of it all is that the CCJ has ruled in favour of a Jamaican

national, with the intervenor being Jamaica that does not recognize it as its

final court of appeal. And when Jamaican traders take action against Trinidad

before the Caribbean Court, they will be seeking redress from a member

state that itself does not hold the CCJ as its final appellate court in civil

matters –– even though the CCJ’s headquarters towers over the landscape

of Port of Spain.

Jamaica and Trinidad (the latter on criminal matters only) still look

towards the British lords of the Privy Council for final resolution. Could we

reasonably consider that both would go to London, should a CCJ ruling not

be in their favour? And the thing is, once a matter relates to the Treaty

Of Chaguaramas –– trade, or as in the Myrie case, free movement or

discrimination based on nationality, they both have access to the CCJ,

the only court legally empowered to adjudicate on such.

It tempts you to ponder how well grounded indeed is the CARICOM

Community and how sustainable is the CCJ as it now stands.

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