Virnet St. Omer-Fontenelle
CARICOM Heads of Government and Leaders
of Parliamentary Opposition discussing issues
Sunday, July 03, 2005 – The historic meeting of CARICOM Heads of
Government and Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition ended in Saint Lucia Saturday
2nd July with the two sides agreeing on measures to advance the CARICOM Single
Market and Economy CSME.
At a press conference following the meeting, representatives of heads of
government and leaders of parliamentary opposition said the meeting was a good
first step in broadening the dialogue and widening the boundaries of governance.
A six-member team of Heads of Government and Parliamentary Opposition Leaders
will meet to fine tune the recommendations coming out of Saturday’s meeting. The
opposition leaders of Jamaica, Dominica and Guyana will make up the opposition
team while the Heads of Government will decide on the composition of their team
at a later date.
Prime Minister of Barbados Honourable Owen Arthur said a big decision was for
efforts to take the entire region into the confidence of government in respect
of all aspects of the CSME. He said there a view is that there is a danger of
the CSME going on a two track pace process and “we, at this juncture, want to
Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition of Jamaica Bruce Golding said the meeting
was useful. He said he was pleased with a decision taken to provide the
opposition with all material relevant to the establishment of the CSME.
While the two parties reached consensus on many of the agenda issues the
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) remains an issue on which the two sides have
not agreed. Mr Golding said the opposition in Jamaica remains adamant that a
final appellate court will not get the support of opposition without a
He said any institution which will cause a degree of cessation of sovereignty
should get the endorsement of the people. He added that the Opposition’s
position in Jamaica is not an opposition to the establishment of the CCJ but
rather to some of the provisions on how the court is appointed and judges
elected. Mr. Golding supported a proposal for simultaneous referenda across the
region on the establishment of the CCJ. He said this is advisable because some
to the countries of the region demand such an exercise as stipulated by their
constitution. He added that if the referenda are held at the same time it will
take away the danger of the outcome of a referendum in one country influencing
the result in another.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas was optimistic about
building consensus on the CCJ indicating that “the stage was set for continued
debate and all agree of necessity to have the court established. The main
stumbling block is how we are certain the sovereignty will be maintained in the
way the court is being conceived.”
The incoming Chairman of CARICOM Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Honourable Dr
Kenny Anthony promised a technical team to meet with the Jamaica opposition to
dialogue on the concerns regarding the establishment of the CCJ.