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Does The Caribbean Have An Independent Judiciary?

1376 words - 6 pages

Is there an independent judiciary in the Commonwealth Caribbean? The answer for this question is 'yes'. First we define an independent judiciary. The independence of the judiciary refers to the constitutional arrangements which have been put in place to certify that the judiciary, as an institution, is independent of all those who might wish to wield influences over or control over it. Next, we state the countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean and they are twelve independent countries:- Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.In the Commonwealth Caribbean ...view middle of the document...

In the Constitution of Belize the requirements with respect to the selection of justices of the Supreme Court are in some respects similar to those of Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. The Chief Justice is appointed by the Governor-General of Belize who, however, is mandatory to act in accordance with the suggestion of the Prime Minister given after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. By contrast with the corresponding provisions of the constitutions of Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, under which the Presidents make the appointment after consultation, the Belize prerequisite appears, at least in theory, to give the Prime Minister of that country a better say in the selection of a Chief Justice.Grenada was the first Associated State to become independent but before their independence in 1974, they participated in a court system called, 'West Indies Associated States Supreme Court Order' although after their independence the court continued to have effect as part law in Grenada; and the Supreme Court established by this order was for the purpose of their Constitution. The arrangement whereby an independent country participates in a courts system on equal terms with non-independent territories appears to be somewhat odd and even more strange is with respect of appointing a judge to the court:-The Chief Justice shall be appointed by Her Majesty by Letters Patent and Justices of Appeal and the Puisne Judges shall be appointed on behalf of Her Majesty by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.The remaining judges of the Court are to be appointed by an self-governing commission completed up of the President of the Court as chairperson and a number of other individuals, such as the Secretary General of CARICOM (Caribbean Community), an representative of the University of the West Indies, appointees of the Caribbean Bar Association and such like. . It is so to keep out interferences from potential litigants and Government.With respect to the judiciary, since 1957 a large number of Commonwealth countries have adopted a regime for the Legal Sub-committee of the Standing Federation Committee of which Albert Fiadjoe was in, set up to finalise the draft of a constitution for the Federal Government of the West Indies. Security of the tenure ship of a judge is of great importance as an objective condition of independence. A judge, whose selection may be determined at the urge of someone else, worse a member of the executive, could not be said to be sheltered by any objective condition of independence. The most robust and courageous judges can not help being affected, even without knowing it, that is, subconsciously, by the fact that they know a decision they make could affect the powers-that-be would lead to his/her occupation being lost.Hence why Caribbean Constitutions go out of their way to supply for the termination of judges on the grounds of misconduct or failure to execute the functions of the office, and institute cumbersome...

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