The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Trust Fund is reported to be in a healthy financial state.
Word of this has come from the CCJ Trust Fund Executive Officer, Glenn Cheong who made the disclosure during a presentation at the launch of the Grenada Constitution Reform Advisory Committee’s (CRAC) one hundred meetings towards Referendum Day last week Thursday at the Grenada National Stadium.
Cheong said that in 2004 the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) raised US $100M on behalf of the Caribbean Governments and the funds were received by the Trust Fund in April 2005.
He stated that over the years, the CCJ Trust Fund produced a total investment return of fifty-five percent as of December 31st 2015.
In 2006, the Trust Fund produced an investment return of 10.4 percent, in 2007 it was 9.2 percent, in 2009 some 15.9 percent, in 2010 it was 10.3 percent, in 2012 it stood at 10.1 percent, and in 2013 it was 12.2 percent.
According to the official, during that same period, about US $70M was drawn down from the fund to cover the operations of the CCJ, the Trust Fund, and the Commission.
The Trust Fund Executive Officer said that after ten years of $70M drawn downs, at the end of December 2013, the balance was still more than the original $100M
“The Trust Fund has produced positive returns in seven, out of its first ten full years of existence while having to operate in a world of… record-low interest rates, a lot of continuing uncertainty caused by a variety of world events… and they all affect financial markets adversely including acts of terrorism, acts of God… and we also have to contend with the world financial crisis which started in 2008,” he added.
Cheong is satisfied that the model has worked, noting that the court does not have to go to the governments every year.
He spoke of the CCJ Trust Fund being charged with the responsibility of keeping the money that is generated to finance the operations of the CCJ.
The CCJ Trust Fund Executive Officer said that only what the court needs to conduct its operations is paid out based on annual agreed budget and this is done quarterly.
The fund, which acts as a custodian, banker and an investor is independent of the court.
However, Cheong said there is shared financing by all of the Caribbean countries together that have signed on to the court.
“No one country, therefore, has the power to influence the judiciary in its judgements because of that structure,” he remarked.
Cheong also quoted from the Trust Fund’s investment policy, which says, “The Fund will be invested prudently with a long-term investment horizon in a wide range of tax efficient international instruments so as to produce an optimal gross rate of return with the reasonable security of its capital.”
Grenada is seeking to have a referendum on October 27 and among the issues on the ballot paper is to abolish appeals to the British Privy Council in London and to make the CCJ the island’s final appellate court.