PM Mitchell responds to concerns over the ‘rush to CCJ’

It’s a mere four days away from the November 6 referendum that will determine whether Grenada accedes or rejects the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final appellate court instead of the British-based Privy Council.

And there are still concerns among sections of the population that the process is being rushed and more important things are being pushed to the side by those who are advancing the “Yes Vote” for the Trinidad-based CCJ.

However, Prime Minister Mitchell believes that this concern should not be a deterrent from moving to the CCJ as he focused on the issue at last week’s post-Cabinet press briefing at the ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen.

The Grenadian leader was specifically asked if he believes there should be a hold off on the CCJ to allow other problems cited in the legal system to be looked at.

He said: “You could wait until you die to take a decision that you have to take, there would always be a reason why you shouldn’t do it today. If I don’t want to do something, I can always find a reason.

“Since 1984…the government then had a commission set up to look at moving to the CCJ to look at the court system. The report was handed in, we spent millions of dollars I believe over the years on such reports but every time we move, you not ready yet, not enough time, you’re rushing.

“We did it the last time, we went even to the referendum, people vote no, they didn’t just say just the fact that it’s not enough time but they voted no on the basis that they must not support it.

According to PM Mitchell some persons are only opposed to the CCJ issue on political grounds because it was taking place under his watch as leader of the country.

He said: “For some people as long as Keith Mitchell is in office, they would not support anything that government has any part of. This issue is not about the government. If it fails or passes, Keith Mitchell loses nothing as a person in material things but I believe the country loses and I would lose from the standpoint what I believe is necessary for the country’s future and I have a responsibility as a citizen who happens also to be Prime Minister to speak my mind and to support also the things that I believe is necessary but it has no political gain for the government.

“If anything, getting involved in it cannot be any big plus in my view politically but some people see it as long as Keith Mitchell is there, I will not support it because Keith Mitchell will look good – this has nothing to do with me” he added.

Prime Minister Mitchel told reporters that the same argument is being used in Antigua by opponents of Prime Minister Gaston Browne who also set November 6 as Referendum Day on the CCJ.

“The opposition in Antigua is saying yes we support the CCJ but fix this first, fix that first. In fact, the Prime Minister said to me one of his opponents said to him, ‘we support … but you owe some money from pension of workers, pay that first before you go to the court’.

“Gimme a break… I don’t believe that those persons are serious about the reason why they do not want it because it’s nothing to do with that in my view.

Both Grenada and Antigua need two-thirds of the voters in the referendum casting ballots in favour of the CCJ in order to make the necessary constitutional changes to do away with the Privy Council.

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