Port of Spain, Trinidad. The Honourable Mr. Justice Saunders was installed as the third President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in Montego Bay, Jamaica by His Excellency, the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, KSt.J, Governor General of Jamaica. The ceremony was held on July 4th, ahead of the Opening of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and was attended by Prime Ministers, Presidents and Premiers from throughout the region.
In his remarks, the 3rd CCJ President, a national of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, noted “as I take up the responsibilities of President of the CCJ, I consider myself to be exceptionally fortunate. I have been preceded in that office by two outstanding Caribbean jurists and I was privileged to have enjoyed a close collegial relationship with both of them. Each in his own way, Mr. Justice de la Bastide and Sir Dennis Byron, have contributed to the solid platform upon which the Court now rests.”
He has served as a Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice, since the Court’s inauguration in 2005 and has acted as President numerous times in the past. Prior to his time at the CCJ, he served a barrister and solicitor for 19 years before being appointed as a Judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme (ECSC). He served as Judge at the ECSC for 7 years and was then confirmed as a Justice of Appeal in 2003. A year later, he was appointed to act as Chief Justice of the Court.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Saunders will serve as President for no longer than the statutory period of seven years. He replaces his former colleague from the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and the former President of the Court, the Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, who was also in attendance at the swearing-in event. Of Mr. Justice Saunders, Sir Dennis stated “I can bear witness to his dedication to upholding the rule of law and his commitment to ensuring that justice is accessible by all people.
I have no doubt that he is thoroughly prepared and unquestionably fit to assume the office of
President of the CCJ.”
Also in attendance were, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque SAH, Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) the Honourable Dean Barrow, MP, Prime Minister of Belize and Lead Head for Justice and Governance (CARICOM); the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP, Prime Minister of Jamaica and Chairman of the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government.; Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, MP, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and officials from regional governments. Footage of the ceremony, which was broadcasts by UWI TV, can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/2lW5zB2.
The Honourable Mr. Justice Saunders, newly sworn-in President of the CCJ, takes the oath of office administered by His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen, ON GCMG, CD, KSt. J, Governor-General of Jamaica. Mr. Justice Saunders, who has been a judge of the Court since its inception, thanked his wife of 38 years, Marilyn Saunders, stating that “he could not have completed this journey without her love and support”