Opposition urges population to vote “No” on CCJ referendum

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Nov. 3, CMC – The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), is urging the population to vote “no” when they head to the polls on Tuesday to determine whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as the island’s final court.
The executive of the NDC, initially supported the exercise but on Friday, as members of the security forces cast their ballots on the special polling day, the party’s interim political Leader Joseph Andall said the party has taken a new position because members are not satisfied with the process.
“For example, two of the persons who were involved in drafting the Bill are members of the Advisory Committee, therefore they have a vested interest in defending and protecting the bill, it means there is no objectivity when it comes to a discussion regarding discrepancies, flaws or omission,” he said.
Condemning the method of educational engagement by the Advisory committee, Andall said that the NDC believes that the Committee was playing a dual role of advising and leading the “yes” campaign .
According to the party leader if Grenadians vote in favour of leaving the Privy Council, there could be dire consequences for the country
Meanwhile, Supervisor of Elections, Alex Phillip said more police officers voted on Friday for the 2018 referendum when compared to the 2016 referendum.
“There were 875 police officers enlisted to vote and by the end of polling time 442 cast ballot but in 2016 less than 35% of the officers voted,” he said. Overall, for the 2016 referendum, less than 35% of registered voters participated in that referendum which required them to vote on seven bills.
On Tuesday all other persons registered to vote will have the opportunity to vote yes or no on ballots asking: “Do you approve the Bill for an Act proposing to alter the constitution of Grenada cited as Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and renaming of Supreme Court) (Amendment) Bill 2018?”
The vote comes almost two years after Grenadians rejected a move to replace the Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
However, on that occasion, the voters had six other bills to vote on.
The 1974 Grenada Constitution states that while the final appellate court is the Privy Council any change or amendment would require a two-thirds of the voting population in a national referendum.
The CCJ, established in 2001, settles disputes between Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states and presently serves as the highest court of appeals on civil and criminal matters for the national courts of Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana.

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