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May 6, 2019

Barrow says International Law Trumps Domestic Law

The Prime Minister also spoke of the P.U.P.’s challenge of the 2008 Special Agreement. While the Chief Justice has ruled that the Special Agreement is not a serious issue to be tried, the P.U.P. has appealed that particular ruling which is now before the Court of Appeal. Those who have been following the legal battle between the political parties have noted that if the Court of Appeal overturns the CJ’s ruling in respect to the constitutionality of the Special Agreement and that matter moves forward, it will put the results of the referendum in jeopardy. Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that no challenge mounted against the results of the May eighth I.C.J. referendum can be successful. He explains why:


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t think the last challenge, though I hear it transcribe, can go anywhere. This idea that the Special Agreement is unconstitutional and so depending on the vote on Wednesday there would be some effort to, as it were, overturn a yes vote on the basis that to hold the referendum without amending the constitution made the exercise unconstitutional. That does not make a lot of sense to me. Of course you know that the Chief Justice at the time of the interim injunction that was a ground. He found the other ground that presented a serious to be tried but the unconstitutionality ground, he said in effect was nonsense. My word, not his, that it was premature and it did not present a serious issue to be tried. So I don’t see how the Opposition would be able to come back from that sort of knockout blow and get a court to rule that what wasn’t a serious issue to be tried all of  sudden became one and in fact, it could sustain a successful challenge to the outcome. I really do not see it. But more practical than that, the time table is this; if the country gets a yes vote we go to the National Assembly in a week, week and a half to amend the Maritime Areas Act and then we lodge our notification with the I.C.J.  How would getting this farfetched decision of a local court to the effect that the Special Agreement is unconstitutional reverse all what would have happened? How will that turn back the clock? This is an international agreement and in the international arena where this matter is to be heard, international law trumps domestic law.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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