Speech by the Prime Minister

Remarks By The Most Hon. Andrew Holness at the Swearing-In Ceremony For the Installation Of The New President Of The Caribbean Court Of Justice











4TH JULY 2018


Your Excellencies, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, Governor-General and the Most Honourable Lady Allen

Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community

Members of the Cabinet

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community

Sir Dennis Byron, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice and Lady Byron

Senator the Honourable Thomas Tavares-Finson, President of the Senate

The Honourable Mr Justice Bryan Sykes, Chief Justice

The Honourable Mr Justice Dennis Morrison, President of the Court of Appeal

The Honourable Mr Justice Adrian Dudley Saunders, President Designate of the Caribbean Court of Justice

Specially Invited Dignitaries

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen all

Good afternoon


I am honoured, as Chairman of the Conference of the Heads of Government, to address such an august gathering at this Swearing-In Ceremony on the Assumption of Office of the Hon. Mr Justice Adrian Saunders as President of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Let me express my gratitude to the Rt. Hon Sir Dennis Byron for the manner in which you executed your functions as President of the Court over the last seven (7) years. During your tenure, you presided with distinction over several landmark decisions of the Court, sitting in both its appellate and original jurisdictions. The Court has undoubtedly benefitted greatly from your many years of domestic, regional and international experience. Under your leadership, the Court has expanded its judicial role in several key areas and I am confident that your successor will build upon that legacy.

I congratulate the Hon. Mr Justice Adrian Saunders on his appointment as President of the CCJ.  Throughout your distinguished career you have demonstrated excellence in your knowledge and understanding of the law, strong moral values, fairness, leadership and a deep commitment to justice. I am fully confident therefore that based on your commendable professional experience and personal attributes, under your stewardship the Court will continue to be a guardian of the rights of the Caribbean people and that you will discharge your functions in this new role with distinction and integrity.

Ladies and gentlemen, today’s proceedings ought not to be seen as a mere formality driven by practice and devoid of deeper meaning. It is important to take note of the fact that the Court administers the Oath of Office which is read aloud by the appointee in the presence of witnesses.  These practices are deliberate.  In the presence of those elected to represent the citizens of the Member States, the Rt. Hon Justice Saunders will make a solemn promise to be responsible both to the Court and to the people of the Caribbean region as a whole, in the performance of his duties.

The establishment of CARICOM was premised on a desire to create a vehicle through which Member States could pursue and facilitate a united approach to prosperity and development. Jamaica believes that regional integration processes like the CSME can promote the economic and social welfare of the region’s citizens. However, this can only be achieved through a CSME that is not only meaningful for our peoples but also functional and effectively regulated.

Today, the Rt. Hon Justice Saunders assumes responsibility for a body that is integral to the effective functioning of CARICOM. In one of its earliest decisions, the CCJ eloquently opined that through the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, Member States transformed CARICOM into a rules-based system.  Indeed, through its impartial and just application of the law, the CCJ has earned and maintained the confidence of the public. 

The matters before the Court are argued by the region’s most erudite practitioners and involve distillations of legal principles often at a high level of intellectual abstraction. However, when all is said and done, the Court’s judgments have a direct impact on the lives of the Caribbean people.  Landmark decisions like the Shanique Myrie judgment are testament to the outstanding, invaluable role of the Court in ensuring that each person enjoys the right to participate and contribute to the community and to share in its benefits. 

It is beyond debate that a well-functioning Caribbean Court of Justice is vital to creating and maintaining a regional community which works for all its members and for all our peoples.  Let me take this opportunity therefore, to wish the Hon. Mr Justice Saunders, a successful tenure in office as President of the Court. May this important CARICOM institution, continue to be a beacon of justice under your leadership and play its role in promoting the prosperity and development of the region and its citizens.


Thank You.