CCJ public education campaign discontinued

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The public education campaign on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has been halted due to what the organising committee has said is a lack of communication on the part of the country’s main opposition party.
The United Progressive Party (UPP) was expected to submit recommendations to government on Constitutional Reform, which would have included issues such as the CCJ. Dr Clarence Henry, Head of the National Consultative Committee, said the committee decided that it would not proceed with the campaign until a formal response was forthcoming from Leader of the Opposition, Baldwin Spencer.
We, as an organisation, could not continue to work indefinitely without any end point, and no assurances were given concerning a feedback from the UPP. So, we had to put the campaign on pause,” Dr Henry said during an interview yesterday.
In a February 2017 article in this newspaper, Spencer gave the assurance that the UPP was in the process of discussing the constitution with its lawyers as it sought to ensure that its response covered “all the salient and relevant areas so that there would be no doubt as to what exactly the party’s opposition is with respect to the reform of the CCJ”.
He also said the UPP would have submitted the completed proposal a week later – that promise was not fulfilled. Dr. Henry said the committee waited in earnest for the opposition leader to respond to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s invitation for submission and felt it would not have been wise to continue without the UPP’s input.
“We would be wasting taxpayers’ money, and one wants to be responsible … so we could not continue …. We did not use a significant amount of resources. The monies that were allocated were circulated back to the government’s coffers once we stopped the promotions,” Dr Henry said.
The education campaign, which was launched in 2016, included town hall meetings and consultations with several interests groups in Antigua as well as the sister island, Barbuda. The campaign was intended to lead to a referendum to decide whether the CCJ would replace the United Kingdom’s Privy Council as Antigua and Barbuda’s final court of appeal.
(More in tday’s Daily Observer)

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