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Make CCJ our final court of appeal
Independent Senator Helen Drayton says the greatest tribute T&T can pay to all its former prime ministers and presidents would be to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) its final court of appeal. Drayton was contributing to yesterday’s Senate debate on a private motion calling for tangible memorials of the work and contributions of all former heads of state and government.
The motion was brought by Independent Senator Corinne Baptiste-McKnight. Drayton said all the former heads of state and government “were all for the Caribbean Court of Justice.” T&T, under former prime minister Basdeo Panday, agreed to the CCJ as this country’s final court of appeal. After Panday was defeated in a subsequent general election, his United National Congress objected to making the CCJ the final court of appeal.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said recently that if this country was to establish the CCJ as its final court of appeal, it would be done only after a referendum. But Drayton insisted the move would be appropriate. “And if that becomes a reality, that would be a significant tribute to their efforts as a regional initiative, which started right here in Trinidad and Tobago, in Chaguaramas, by a giant, Eric Williams.”
Drayton added: “What more tribute can we pay to his memory and the memory of all of us but to take this opportunity to rise to a higher level of leadership and demonstrate that we can control our destiny?” Earlier, Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh called on legislators to rise above political barriers and to depoliticise the recognition of the country’s heroes.
He said Panday was a revered leader and should be recognised for his contribution to the development of T&T. He also said the portrait of deceased Diego Martin Central MP Leo Des Vignes should be placed in the temporary Parliament Chamber as a fitting tribute and reminder of the democracy of this country.
Des Vignes, who was a member of the National Alliance for Reconstruction Government in July 1990, was shot during the attack on the Parliament by the Yasin Abu Bakr-led Jamaat al Muslimeen during the attempted coup.
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