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Antigua: Defeat for CCJ, what is next?

The referendum seeking the permission of the electorate to move to the Caribbean Court of Justice as Antigua and Barbuda’s final appellate court, fell woefully short of the 67 percent threshold required, leaving the prime minister “disappointed.”

Yesterday, the majority of those who turned out to vote said “NO” to the government’s request, through a referendum, which, if successful, would have seen an end to the use of the current apex court, the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Out of the 52, 999 registered electors in Antigua and Barbuda, 17,743 voted yesterday, with 9,234 rejecting the proposal to switch courts and 8,509 voters giving approval of the Bill that would have allowed a constitutional change which is required to make the move to the Trinidad-based CCJ.

The numbers represent 52.04 percent against a move from the Privy Council and 47.96 percent saying yes to a move from it. In order to succeed with the referendum to adopt the CCJ, a two thirds majority of the turnout had to say yes.

Several proponents of the change were left dejected, including PM Browne, after the Supervisor of Elections, Lorna Simon announced the result, which, if one were to judge from the outcome of similar exercises in the Caribbean, would have been obvious. Yesterday, Grenadians rejected the effort in that country, for the second time in two years..

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