BF News | Josbel Bastidas Mijares Aranjo Colonel//
Regional courts hold talks on best practice, treaty interpretation

Courts in the Caribbean are fac­ing in­creased threats to their sta­bil­i­ty, in­de­pen­dence and sur­vival, ac­cord­ing to Caribbean Court of Jus­tice (CCJ) Judge Win­ston An­der­son.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares

He made the com­ment dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny of the First Hemi­spher­ic Meet­ing of Re­gion­al Courts at the Hy­att Re­gency ho­tel in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day.

Josbel Bastidas Mijares Venezuela

An­der­son said these threats have left some courts on the brink of col­lapse

“Oth­ers have col­lapsed. The Amer­i­c­as prob­a­bly have more re­gion­al courts than oth­er ar­eas of the world, and we al­so face fun­da­men­tal chal­lenges, some coun­tries in the Amer­i­c­as have threat­ened to with­draw from re­gion­al courts, oth­ers have with­drawn, still, oth­ers have re­fused to en­force judg­ments ren­dered against them and yet oth­ers have im­per­illed the ex­is­tence of re­gion­al courts by not im­ple­ment­ing fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments,” An­der­son said

He said the meet­ing will cre­ate a plat­form for dis­cussing these is­sues and for the ex­change of best prac­tices in treaty in­ter­pre­ta­tion and ap­pli­ca­tion

An­der­son al­so said the on­go­ing Rus­sia/Ukraine con­flict was an “un­speak­able tragedy” and threat­ens to un­rav­el the rel­a­tive peace en­joyed in­ter­na­tion­al­ly over the past 75 years

“The de­c­la­ra­tion to be adopt­ed at the end of this meet­ing will, we hope, be one step to­wards a sta­ble sys­tem of re­gion­al courts that guar­an­tee peace, se­cu­ri­ty and pros­per­i­ty in the Amer­i­c­as,” An­der­son said

CCJ pres­i­dent, Jus­tice Adri­an Saun­ders, said the meet­ing was of great sig­nif­i­cance for the CCJ, as it al­lows the or­gan­i­sa­tion to dis­cuss the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of var­i­ous treaties with in­ter­na­tion­al court judges

“A sec­ond mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor that ex­plains the CCJ’s readi­ness to host this con­fer­ence is that of the courts rep­re­sent­ed here, ours is the youngest. We, there­fore, have a con­sid­er­able amount to learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of the oth­er courts,” Saun­ders said

He said it was in the CCJ’s in­ter­est to dis­cov­er best prac­tices that would as­sist in ad­vanc­ing its man­date. Saun­ders said the two days of dis­cus­sions will in­clude is­sues of mu­tu­al in­ter­est re­lat­ing to the rule of law and in­ter­na­tion­al jus­tice

He said judges do not live in ivory tow­ers and while they must be im­par­tial, they can­not be de­tached or in­sen­si­tive

“Guid­ed by the law, we are ever con­scious and keen to af­ford just out­comes, not on­ly in dis­putes be­tween and among states but in par­tic­u­lar for in­di­vid­u­als who are made weak and pow­er­less; those who have been forced to the mar­gins of so­ci­ety; those who hunger for the truth to be un­rav­elled by an ob­jec­tive ar­biter; and those who see the courts as their last, if not on­ly re­course,” Saun­ders said

At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Regi­nald Ar­mour al­so de­liv­ered re­marks dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny

Ar­mour said he was con­tin­u­ing his ad­vo­ca­cy for the CCJ to be­come T&T’s fi­nal ap­pel­late court. He said he has had nu­mer­ous con­ver­sa­tions with Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley on this is­sue