UWI Today March 2015 - page 21

flow from the ILO’s Convention 169. It would be the first
opportunity for the region to consider these important issues
at this level, an issue of increasing significance to Trinidad
and Tobago.
He saw the CCJ as continuing the tradition of “direct
reliance on ILO Conventions, including unratified
conventions, as sources of primary andpreviouslyundeclared
and unestablished rights, as well as ratified conventions
which have been transformed into domestic law.” He was
of the view that given the CCJ’s general pronouncement
previously on these international law influences, the body of
now established international law principles on indigenous
rights would be addressed adequately in the upcoming
Mayan Land Rights case.
“The CCJ has used international law as a guide for
interpreting domestic law; as offering jurisprudential
principles based on international law; and to strengthen a
decision based on domestic law,” he said.
On the niggling question of independence, Armour
agreed with me that this was not seriously in doubt, since
the arrangements for protecting the independence and
integrity of the CCJ are among the finest in the world –
and UK jurists themselves have commended the region on
this, as did the visiting jurists at the Symposium. There is
a separate Judicial Commission that selects judges, unlike
the political appointments we see in the US and the UK.
Moreover, the jurisprudence of the court to date makes it
clear that it is no slave to any government.
Armour and I both recalled the enduring remarks of
lead Prime Minister for the CCJ, Dr. Kenny Anthony, when
he said in the feature address at the inauguration of the court
in 2005, that the establishment of the CCJ was a “leap into
enlightenment,” recalling “the distinguished contribution
that the region’s legal practitioners, . . . have made elsewhere
in the Commonwealth and internationally.”
This includes sitting as Chief Justices in many parts
of Africa, judges at the International Court of Justice in
The Hague and other international tribunals. Indeed,
Anthony remarked, “in ‘per capita terms I doubt if any other
community in the world has served the world-wide cause of
justice more comprehensively and more consistently than
has the Caribbean . . . The Caribbean is not a fledgling state
approaching tentatively the threshold of the rule of law.’
Thus, establishing a CCJ was “not a leap into the dark, to be
feared, but a ‘leap to enlightenment’ to be embraced.”
The audience heard that former President of the CCJ,
Michael de la Bastide had also stated that in looking at the
actual cases that went before the Pricy Council, more often
than not, the PC agreed with the local courts’ decisions
and merely adopted their reasoning, which endorses the
strength of our local judiciary and indeed, those who present
arguments before them.
Significantly, all of the presenters were of the view
that the strengthening of the CCJ by accepting its appellate
jurisdiction would advance the rule of law in the Caribbean
and redound to the benefit of the regional integration
The Symposium, jointly hosted by the Faculty of Law,
UWI, St. Augustine and the High Commission of Canada
to Trinidad and Tobago, was supported by the ILO, OAS,
Commonwealth Secretariat and UNDP.  It was attended
by more than 100 participants, drawn from the judiciary,
the Bar, academia, the private sector and civil society, and,
notably, the then Acting President of Trinidad and Tobago,
The Honourable Timothy Hamel-Smith, The Honourable
Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of
Justice, Senator theHonourable Emmanuel George, andCCJ
President, The Right Honourable Sir Dennis Byron.  
Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine is Dean of the Faculty
of Law, UWI St. Augustine.
Are you preoccupied
being wealthy; with fame; with
popularity; with hiding your
age and showing up always
in the latest fashion? Is it
your biggest priority to make
‘friends’ with people who can
be useful to you, to pursue a
comfort-seeking life, and to be
always trendy? Would you attend a wedding just for
the food and drink? Do you get upset when you don’t
get your way; if someone gives you a bad-drive; if your
children don’t behave the way you expect; if someone
speaks ill of you; if you didn’t get that promotion you
deserved; if life does not turn out how you want; if
you have a lousy, victimizing lecturer who does not
prepare his or her work; if your best friend betrays
you; when someone you don’t like gets a promotion
or gets to the top by using some illicit means? Do you
often make choices at any cost because you believe
they would make you happy but they ultimately turn
out to be poor choices?
You may have an acute case of dragon sickness.
At the beginning of the movie
The Hobbit
, Bilbo
Baggins’ lifestyle epitomizes the “goods” life. He is
self-centred and seeks an easy-going life acquiring
all the material comforts and pleasures that life has
to offer. This sounds like an attractive way of life
for which many strive. In fact, ethical systems of
hedonism and utilitarianism have been developed
to support and rationalize such lifestyles. So, what is
the problem here?
The Hobbit
, Smaug, the dragon, lives inside Lonely
Mountain, which is filled with treasures of precious
metals and jewels. Think about it, of what practical use
is all this wealth for a dragon? He becomes so attached
to this wealth that he goes berserk when he finds one
little trinket missing. Many people view pleasure, wealth,
power, and being held in high esteem by others as the
fount of happiness.The problem then is that one becomes
a slave to such things and ends up being controlled by
the possession possesses the possessor
Dragon sickness is an addiction or inordinate
pursuit of and attachment to wealth (
lust of the flesh
pleasure (
lust of the eyes
), honour and admiration (
for power
) that we believe would bring us happiness.
Dragon sickness is a seductive and insidious moral
disorder or mental sickness that leads to unhappiness.
We yearn to possess wealth, social position, public
prestige, professional appointments, self-affirmation and
validation by others as the aim in life. Not only do these
things “possess” us, but they involve endless worries and
disappointments, especially when there is a danger of
losing them. In other words, we lose our freedom and
become victims at the mercy of people’s opinion or the
prevailing ideologies.
UWI’s latest co-curricular course,
Ethics and
Integrity: Building Moral Competencies
attempts to cure
dragon sickness by taking you on a journey from self-
deception to self-knowledge and self-possession, and
ultimately to self-giving or enlightened self-interest using
the latest teaching pedagogy (theories and methods)
and andragogy (practices) that incorporate principles
and virtues.
Surendra Arjoon, PhD, is a Professor of Business & Professional Ethics
in the Department of Management Studies, UWI St. Augustine.
Dragon sickness is a seductive and insidious moral
disorder or mental sickness that leads to unhappiness.
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