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Caribbean Constitutions Compromised By Changes To British House Of Lords – Attorney

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Oct. 2, 2009: Constitutions of independent Caribbean countries, which still send appeals to the Judicial Committee of the  Privy Council in London, will be compromised by the abolition of the judicial jurisdiction of the House of Lords.

So says Grenada-born attorney, Dr. Francis Alexis. Alexis said the October 1, 2009 dissolution of the  judicial  jurisdiction of the House of Lords and the substitution of the UK Supreme Court, inaugurated Thursday, means that there will no longer be law lords  to constitute the main bench of the Privy Council.

This compromises the fundamental premise on which Caribbean constitutions continued the Privy Council into independence, said Alexis, adding that it will humiliate and embarrasses independent Caribbean nations. 

It  means that decisions taken in London as of Thursday will seriously impact constitutionally on independent Caribbean countries which retain appeals  to the Privy Council, emphasizing how untenable it is  for the Caribbean  to continue sending appeals  to the Privy Council, said Alexis.

He said the least the Caribbean can do now  to redeem nationhood is to pull out of the Privy Council as quickly as possible.   This would answer the wake-up call to  get out early   from the Privy Council , sounded  recently by the president of the UK Supreme Court Lord Phillips, said Alexis.

Fortunately, Alexis notes, the Caribbean has available, as a  regional final appellate  court, the Caribbean Court of Justice.  This   facility  of the CCJ, Alexis advises , should be utilised urgently by the Caribbean, following  the shining examples of  Barbados and Guyana.

British legal history was yesterday made with the new Supreme Court taking over from the House of Lords as the highest court in the UK.  The Supreme Court is the result of the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, aimed at separating the highest appeal court from the upper house of Parliament, and removing the Law Lords from the legislature.