HISTORY was made on Thursday morning as the first hemispheric meeting of regional courts and tribunals in the Americas kicked off at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) said the two-day conference features "heads of judiciaries, senior judicial officers, jurists, academics, and policy-makers from across the region."
It will include sessions and discussions under the theme: Rule of Law and International Justice.
CCJ president Adrian Saunders said the conference was especially significant for the CCJ as it was the first in-person conference the court has held since March 2020.
"It is not by chance that the CCJ urged the convening of this gathering. It was a logical step for us.
"In the first place, here are regional courts, international court judges operating in this part of the world, defending and protecting the rule of law, ensuring that we faithfully carry out our respective mandates to interpret and apply the treaties that prescribe those mandates; and linked together by similar aims and challenges."
He said since the CCJ is the youngest of all the courts represented at the conference, its youth was a motivating factor in its readiness to host.
"We therefore have a considerable amount to learn from the experience of the other courts. It is particularly in the CCJ’s interest to discover best practices which we can adopt in order to build upon the modest advances we have made to date in he pursuit of our own mandate."
But he also said the court has experiences and innovations it can "profitably share" with its judicial hemispheric colleagues.
The conference, he said allows all participants to show mutual solidarity and commitment "to the peoples of the region whom we serve.
"As judges, we do not reside in ivory towers, aloof from reality. We are impartial, but not detached; unbiased, but deeply sensitive to prevailing mores and to social, economic and cultural developments. Guided by the law, we are ever conscious and keen to afford just outcomes, not only in disputes between and among states but, in particular, for individuals who are made weak and powerless."
Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, said the conference was highly anticipated and historic. He said such events are "critical" and that courts must "work together in a modern, globalised, legal context.
"The coming together of our courts to advance our regional jurisprudence, on the infinitely laudable subjects to be discussed over the coming days, is testimony to the continued growth and development of a shared communication to deepen in our democracies."
Once again, he voiced his opinion that the CCJ should become this country's final appellate court – replacing the Privy Council. He said the Prime Minister and himself have been very vocal about this.
"We are resolute in our belief and our acclamation that the CCJ has more than adequately demonstrated its judicial pedigree and independence, its sound reasoning, its logic and its ability to be innovative in its decision-making."
The conference will end at 3 pm on Friday.