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The Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Steadroy Cutie Benjamin, has emphasized the importance of establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the country.
One of the key priorities of the Gaston Browne-led administration is to continue the push for the CCJ’s establishment, especially after the failed 2018 referendum that proposed relocating the country’s final appellate court to the CCJ.
“I will be at the forefront of fighting for the establishment of the CCJ. Unless we can control our judiciary, we can never really be independent. We do not control the judiciary, and until we do that, we cannot be independent,” he said
The Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda remains unamended, making it one of the few constitutions in the region to have never been revised, despite several attempts to do so in the past.
Constitutional reform in Antigua and Barbuda requires a referendum, which has not been successful so far.
Other independent Caribbean countries such as Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and the Bahamas also require a referendum to amend their constitutions. St. Lucia is the only country that has accepted the CCJ as its final appellate court without a referendum.
The Antiguans and Barbudans for Constitutional Reform and Education (ABCRE) have advocated for this move towards constitutional reform for years.
The government said recently that all proposals by both political parties will be considered before making a final announcement.
It remains to be seen whether Antigua and Barbuda will follow in the footsteps of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica, which have recently become republics in the Commonwealth Caribbean.