Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has expressed confidence that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), under the leadership of new President, Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders, will continue to guard the rights of the Caribbean people.
Mr. Holness was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for Justice Saunders at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel, Montego Bay, on July 4.
“I am fully confident that based on your commendable professional experience and personal attributes, you will discharge your functions in this new role with distinction and integrity,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness said the day’s proceedings ought not to be seen as a mere formality that is driven by practice and devoid of deeper meaning, but should act as the channel through which member states can pursue and facilitate a united approach to prosperity and development.
The Prime Minister congratulated Mr. Saunders on his appointment and commended him for his distinguished service over the years.
For his part, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, said the appointment “represents a milestone in our judicial history” and sends a positive message to all about “the standards of our legal-education institutions”.
“The CCJ represents the essence of our independence and sovereignty. It is essential to the progress of the integration movement through the certainty and predictability it provides in the interpretation and application of the revised Treaty [of Chaguaramas]. This court has proven its worth, and I look forward to the day when all our members sign on to the appellate jurisdiction,” he said.
In his response, President Saunders said that as he takes on the responsibility for the CCJ, he considers himself to be very fortunate.
“I have been preceded in that office by two outstanding Caribbean jurists, and I was privileged to have enjoyed a close collegial relationship with them, Justice Michael de la Bastide and Sir Dennis Byron. Both have contributed to the solid platform on which the Court now rests. I express my profound gratitude to them for their profound service, and in particular to Sir Dennis for his mentorship over several years,” he said.
The new president was sworn in by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen.
Mr. Justice Saunders is also Chairman of the Caribbean Association of Judicial Officers (CAJO).
He obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) in 1975 and the Legal Education Certificate at the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago in 1977. He was called to the Bar of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in that same year. He worked with Sir Dennis at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and was later reunited with him in 2011 when Sir Dennis was appointed President of the CCJ.
Also in attendance at the ceremony were outgoing President of the CCJ, Sir Dennis Byron; Lead Head of Government for Justice and Governance, CARICOM, Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow; Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, and other officials from regional governments.
The ceremony was held prior to the start of the 39th regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, which will last until July 6.
Source: JIS News