The Caribbean Court of Justice issued its first advisory opinion in response to a request for interpretation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established the Caribbean Community. According to a press release from the Court, the Court was asked by the Heads of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to give its opinion on two issues relating to freedom of movement. The request comes in the wake of two decisions by the CARICOM Heads to (a) increase the number of categories of workers entitled to seek employment in each other's countries; and (b) permit Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis to opt out of that decision for five years. Specifically, the Court was asked: (1) whether the opt out was lawful, and (2) whether nationals of states that have opted out can still benefit from the new worker provisions. With regard to the first question, the CCJ advised that an opt-out is lawful as long as a five conditions are satisfied: (1) a request must be formally made; (2) the decision-maker must be a competent organ of the Community; (3) the Heads must agree to the opt-out; (4) the state opting out may choose to opt out of only the obligations arising from the decision, i.e., the obligation to receive these new categories of workers; and (5) the "fundamental objectives" of the Community are not prejudiced or undermined by the opt-out. Bearing those conditions in mind, the CCJ advised that the opt-out at issue was lawful.
As for the second question, the CCJ emphasized the usefulness of opt-outs in that they allow decisions of the Conference to be taken and implemented in circumstances where those decisions might otherwise have been vetoed by a Member State that was not, at the time, in a position to bear the obligations inherent in the proposal for the decision." Thus, the CCJ advised that "an opt out is to be treated as being non-reciprocal in character" which means that nationals of the opt-out states who fall within the new worker categories can take advantage of the enlargement decision. The full opinion and a summary are available on the Court's website.