Contextual View of the Caribbean Court of Justice4
The CSME and CCJ Connection6
Funding and Integration8
Two Significant Cases9
It is said that within the economic sphere, the Caribbean is caught between two worlds. The old world of trade preferences, concessional flows of financial resources to the region, domestic protectionism, state dominated, and over-regulated economic activity is vanishing or is already gone. The new Caribbean economy has now become a free spirit. We will now have to make our place in a world of declining special preferences, equal treatment for national and foreign investment and enterprise and the end of managed trade. It is in this context that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) will have an impact on regional and local businesses.
The underlying philosophy of the CSME is the principle that the free movement of capital, people, services and enterprise between Caricom states, will lead to various actors in the economic process maximizing their talents and resources, thereby leading to greater efficiency and increased profits and prosperity. Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados has highlighted the importance of the CSME to the very economic survival of the region as a whole, noting that prosperity in the region depends upon the removal of those restrictions impinging upon the free movement of the factors of production.
The Caribbean Single Market and Economy is expected to create a favorable business environment. Its purpose is to remove differences and all restrictions to trade among CARICOM countries, and in so doing encourage the perception of the Caribbean as a harmonized investment area. Previously, many markets were closed and local producers and business people were not subject to the same taxes as outside manufacturers. However, under the CSME, business people will enjoy an unlimited market for goods or services. They will also have access to an internal market of over 6 million persons (14 million if Haiti is included) and will not require an import license for goods originating from a CARICOM country.
The CSME is expected to retain international markets and create opportunities for investment which were previously unattainable, so that business and companies will be able to establish themselves in conditions which are favorable to them. For business people the CSME will mean an improvement in market access across-the-board, including agriculture, services, and non-agriculture products as well as investment facilitation through the removal of bureaucratic barriers and non-discrimination in the granting of incentives among Community nationals. The CSME will create motivation for investments by removing barriers and thus spreading growth to all member states.
The idea of a Caribbean Supreme Court is not a new one. However, at the 12th Inter-Sessional Meeting of The Conference in 2001, Bridgetown, Barbados, the Heads of Government signed the agreement for the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), emphasizing the central role of the Court in providing legal certainty to the operations of the CSME. The CCJ is structured to have two jurisdictions - an original and an appellate. In its original jurisdiction, the Court is an international tribunal with compulsory and exclusive jurisdiction for the interpretation and application for the Revised Treaty. In the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction, the CCJ considers and determine appeals in both civil and criminal matters from courts within the jurisdiction of Member States. (See appendix for a brief history of the development of the CSME and the CCJ).
Contextual View of the Caribbean Court of Justice
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy is established by the Treaty of Chaguaramas as revised by nine protocols. The Treaty, as revised, is to be interpreted and applied by the CCJ in...