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The Trinidad and Tobago-focused final court of appeal is a brilliant idea

Letters to the editor



- Photo courtesy of Pixabay
– Photo courtesy of Pixabay

THE EDITOR: Trinidad and Tobago is a unique country, but from the beginning it has always been a follower of the colonial system.

Firstly, the Constitution was inherited and copied from the Westminster system. It worked in the past, but now it is outdated and recent changes in capital punishment rulings in the Privy Council have left it ambiguous and comatose.

After reading the guest column in the latest Monday edition of Newsday (April 29) by Darrel P. Allahar, lawyer at Veritas Chambers, I am convinced that his proposal to abolish the Privy Council and the CCJ makes perfect sense.

TT is home to the CCJ, but this country is not a signatory to the CCJ and retains the British-based Privy Cuncil as the island’s final court of appeal.

Furthermore, the same Privy Council has ruled that the death penalty is now cruel and inhuman, while this was the same judiciary that ruled that hanging and the death penalty were acceptable.

As a result, the death penalty is no longer used in TT today due to the Pratt and Morgan case and from 1993 the judiciary has ruled that persons convicted of murder and who have served more than five years in prison are hung. . Yet the death penalty remains on TT’s law books.

It stated that waiting five years is a period of torture and could lead to a condition then called ‘death row syndrome’ or ‘death row phenomenon’. So essentially, people convicted of murdering our citizens who remain in prison for five or more years will most likely escape the hangman’s noose.

But it is not just the Privy Council that brings uncertainty, let us recall what happened when the PPP/C of Guyana submitted proposals to the CCJ to determine the outcome of the May 11, 2015 elections. The CCJ could not clearly determine whether 32 or 33 was half of 65.

The CCJ postponed it and the bickering between the PNC and the PPP/C continued for some time before a consensus was reached that the PPP/C was the winner of the elections.

That initially led many people, including myself, to believe that the CCJ was operating unfairly and appeared biased as it considered reaching a decision.

Perhaps that is one of the fundamental reasons why Trinidad and Tobago has never joined the CCJ as the final court of appeal.

Therefore, my arguments support Darrell Allahar’s suggestion that we should consider establishing a court of appeals; this would strengthen our independence and reassure the nation of the possibilities of jurisprudence.

JAY RAKHAR

New York