The proposed referendum to determine whether or not Antigua and Barbuda accedes to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will be the focus of discussions today between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne will host the meeting scheduled to take place at the Office of the Prime Minister this afternoon. The Prime Minister has issued an invitation to Leader of the Opposition, Baldwin Spencer to attend the meeting and to advise him that he may bring along a team of five members to the meeting. The government will also be represented by a team of five persons.
Since last November, the Prime Minister dispatched a letter to Spencer seeking to ascertain from him the opposition, United Progressive Party’s position on the staging of the referendum on the CCJ.
This as both Spencer and UPP Political Leader, Harold Lovell, have stated their support for the regional court, but have indicated that this was a ‘personal’ position. In light of this, it was never clear what the UPP’s official position on the matter was.
Spencer indicated in a letter this month that the UPP seems to favour putting multiple questions, including the CCJ, before the electorate, but based on the St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Grenada examples where this was done, PM Browne is unlikely to agree to multiple questions.
The prime minister has repeatedly said that if there were any attempts to politicize the process or if the UPP is not willing to move forward with only the CCJ question on the ballot paper, he will not proceed any further.
Today’s meeting will be the first time that both sides are meeting with a full forum to discuss the matter, as members of the National Coordinating Committee will also be attending.
Following the meeting, the prime minister will hold a press conference to update the public on the outcome of the meeting.