Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 4th 2016 Contents SUNDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER, 2016 – UWI TODAY 3
Professor Brian Copeland
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
Dr Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002, exts. 82013 / 83997 or email: email@example.com
The subject of a regional court for the Commonwealth Caribbean is one that has never truly
gone underground and continues to generate much interest. It has occupied the minds of
scholars, practitioners, politicians and the general public for well over 50 years. The matter
is inextricably bound up with concerns of sovereignty, self-sufficiency and maturity in the
political and legal spheres.
The evolution of this shared court mirrors the struggle for greater political and
economic regional cooperation. The vibrancy and sometimes emotive character of the
debate has much to do with the spectre of colonialism as former subjugated colonies
strive to find their way in an often hostile world within the environment of a regionalism,
resources and confidence.
The Faculty of Law, University of the West Indies has been a staunch proponent of
this symbolic, but yet pragmatic and necessary initiative toward a final regional court, a
topic firmly entrenched in its syllabus. In 2000, the Faculty produced a publication entitled
Caribbean Justice for All – The Case for a Regional Caribbean Court (Rose-Marie Antoine,
David Berry and Hugh Rawlins), which laid out the arguments toward what is now the
Caribbean Court of Justice (the CCJ) firmly and lucidly.
Five years later, in 2005, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) took a big step, in
what lead Prime Minister for the CCJ, Dr. Kenny D Anthony, described as a “Leap toward
Enlightenment” when the CCJ was inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago. The court has
jurisdiction to resolve regional trade disputes under the economic grouping known as the
Caribbean Single Market and Economy, and has an appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals
from domestic courts. The new Court boasted a unique funding methodology and an
independent Judicial Services Commission to appoint judges of unimpeachable calibre.
In 2015, at the 10 year anniversary of the CCJ, there was still some work to be done
to persuade the remaining CARICOM countries to move in the direction of accession.
The Faculty of Law was encouraged when it found new and enthusiastic friends, willing to
boldly promote the CCJ. These new friends, the Canadian Embassy, the OAS, the ILO and
the UNDP, came together in a historic initiative to host a highly successful Symposium
featuring six prominent jurists from the Caribbean and the wider Commonwealth region.
These were Reginald Armour SC, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Law Association,
Justice the Hon. Justice Logan RFD of Australia, Professor Benoît Pelletier, OQ, AD of
Canada, former judge Denys Barrow of Belize and Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine,
Dean of the Faculty of Law, UWI.
A symposium was attended by more than 100 participants, drawn from the judiciary,
the Bar, academia, the private sector and civil society, and also included, notably, the Acting
President of Trinidad and Tobago, The Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, The Honourable
Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Justice, Senator the Honourable
Emmanuel George, and CCJ President, The Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron.
The forum provided the opportunity, not only to promote the appellate jurisdiction of
the Court, but to demonstrate that the region was not alone in its timidity in letting go of the
shackles of legal subservience. Thus, the audience benefitted from the similar experiences of
other Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia, through the presentations
of eminent jurists from those countries, comparing it with our own. For example, Professor
Benoit Peltier, a constitutional expert from Canada, spoke on the evolution of the role of
the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), and explained how the SCC’s establishment had
signalled the end of what he referred to as “judicial colonialism” and the development of
The event also presented an important opportunity for the speakers to assess the
substantive work of this eminent Court, in particular the presentations by Barrow and
Antoine. Former Justice Denys Barrow CBE, SC focused on the court’s contribution in
relation to international law and in particular, from ILO sources. He indicated that the CCJ
was fully in step with developments in international law.
Dean Antoine, assessed the CCJ’s jurisprudence, noting its demonstrable adherence to
principles of independence, integrity and fairness and its adoption of universally entrenched
norms of sound judicial decision-making and judicial traditions within the expected
parameters of a superior court. She identified important, diverse and often path-breaking
cases both in the CCJ’s original jurisdiction and its appellate jurisdiction, wading into public
law and commercial law. Antoine described the CCJ as a “premier legal institution and
an independent, informed judicial body in step with international juridical mores, firmly
grounded in its environment and shaping appropriately the destiny of Caribbean peoples”.
One of the pivotal moments at the symposium came when Reginald Armour SC,
the panellist representing the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago, for the first time
confirmed publicly his organisation’s support for the accession to the CCJ by the Government
of Trinidad and Tobago. The Institute of International Relations provided a home for a
publication, allowing the rich contributions of this Symposium to be preserved. The Institute
also shared its own important vision of the place of the CCJ in the regional political and
social framework, examining it within the widening sphere of regional courts globally, as
seen in the final paper that centers the volume, added post Symposium by Dr. Michelle
Scobie of the Institute.
It is hoped that this contribution - Vol. 4, No. 1, June 2016, available on the CJIRD
journal’s website link: http://journals.sta.uwi.edu/iir , will serve as a vital resource
document for stakeholders and for researchers on the subject and help to elevate the
development of the Commonwealth Caribbean.
Promoting Regionalism and
Indigenous Jurisprudence -
COURT OF JUSTICE
On behalf of all staff of St Augustine Campus of The University of
the West Indies let me welcome all new and returning students for the
2016/2017 Academic Year.
For new students, the year-long orientation programme, FYE
(First Year Experience) would only have just begun. Under this year’s
theme, Direct your Story, we encourage you to create your own script,
one that will direct your life experience from here on. You should
immerse yourselves in student life even as you engage extracurricular
activities, residence hall engagement, sporting events and the plethora
of opportunities that awaits you as a member of this community.
This thematic approach of directing your own story fits seamlessly
with my vision for this University. Having assumed office just a little ahead of your arrival, I started
my tenure as your Campus Principal by considering the ways the University can fine-tune its
mandate of preparing you for becoming a productive citizen for your immediate benefit and for
the greater benefit of the communities your lives will touch.
The UWI has to operate within a universal education system that should, in the first instance,
prepare every citizen for crisis by ensuring that they possess the most basic survival skills. A cursory
glance at world affairs would easily clarify how important this is. Like many other institutions of
learning, our current focus is on education for every citizen to achieve a decent standard of living
through adequate preparation in the knowledge and skills required for the local, regional and global
workplace. However, we are also shaping the UWI to better nurture the creative and innovative
talents required for citizens to contribute to national and regional sustainable development. At the
same time, your UWI experience will provide myriad pathways to support personal development
and overall, ensure that you are equipped to be a productive citizen.
In my view, the highest priority for any society, and those who govern it, is to build and
maintain efficient wealth generation systems that will ensure a high degree of sustainable
development – “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs” (see the World Commission on Environment and
Development – The Brundtland Report).
The most effective way of doing this is for citizens to lower their priority on ‘education for
getting a job’ and assume the philosophy of education that inculcates a strong innovation culture.
I call this the “Innovation Imperative.” This imperative demands that developing nations close the
“innovation gap” by strategically construct their wealth generation systems (National Innovation
Systems) and kick-start and maintain their engines of wealth creation. This facet of national
structure is what significantly distinguishes developed nations from all others.
Closing the innovation gap requires a complete review and assessment of how you spend
your time at the UWI. The University experience should be one that nurtures higher levels of
critical thinking rather than education for regurgitation of facts. It is about providing you with the
knowledge keys to enter new doors of opportunity; giving you pathways to creativity, the ability to
identify problems and realise solutions. As the world changes, you will face many challenges that
your forebears would have never even envisaged.
Your time and experience at The UWI will also allow you to learn how to network and
‘teamwork’ for leveraging diversity and complementary capabilities. Moving forward in the
Information Age V 2.0, you should also have an understanding of how to maintain control of your
creativity by understanding Intellectual Property rights.
As we go forward, we will increasingly emphasise education for the development of the whole
person, the citizens of tomorrow, even as we strive to address the innovation imperative. This has
to be the vision of the future of the UWI, even long after my term has come to an end.
My university years were some of the most exciting, potential-filled times of my life. I ask
you to consider these years among those that will have the most impact on your future - so begin
with an open mind and set out to grow into the best version of yourself you can imagine. Work
hard, work smart but have some fun.
PROFESSOR BRIAN COPELAND
FROM THE PRINCIPAL
The UWI Experience is a Chance to Direct your Story
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