Letter of the Day | Are we placing cart before horse? – Jamaica Gleaner

THE EDITOR, Madam:
The Government’s approach in the constitutional reform process does not represent right thinking. It is placing the cart before the horse.
An appeal to the Privy Council is really a petition to His Majesty which is deliberated upon in his court by judges, his advisers on justice matters, and who thereafter present to him the advice that would be dispatched to the petitioner’s country.
There obviously has to be a connection to the monarch for him to be petitioned and for use to be made of his court; in the case of Jamaica, that connection being the country’s head of state.
If that connection is severed by Jamaicans moving away from the monarch as their head of state, what is the link that thereafter allows for him to be petitioned?
That is why the long-standing tradition has been that the former British colonies that completed the move to full sovereignty severed the link with the monarch’s court, the Privy Council, either before or at the same time as moving away from the monarchy.
There is more! The judges of the Privy Council have consistently complained that Jamaicans are among some foreigners who are imposing on their judicial time; in other words, they should take their petitions elsewhere.
Plus, in Jamaica’s case, His Majesty’s government has placed an unparalleled hurdle in the way of the constitutional right of the petitioner and his lawyer having unimpeded access to justice by the requirement to obtain travel visas to be present in his court.
Taken to its logical conclusion, Jamaica would be left with a scenario where the monarch has been removed, but His Majesty, whose judges had long complained about using his court, is still being petitioned to determine legal issues arising on the interpretation of the Constitution.

DOUGLAS LEYS
Attorney-at-law
View the discussion thread.

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