Grenada’s referendum on constitutional reform: The way forward

By Dr. Wendy Grenade On November 24, 2016, Grenadians were afforded the opportunity to vote on seven bills in the first ever referendum on constitutional reform to be held in that country. Of the 71,241 registered voters, a mere 32.4% or just over 21,000 persons voted. The outcome was an overwhelming rejection of all seven bills. The four bills most heavily rejected were the Rights and Freedoms Bill (“No” 76%, “Yes” 24%); Term of Office of Prime Minister (“No” 74%, “Yes” 26%); Ensuring the Appointment of Leader of the Opposition (“No” 72%, “Yes” 28%); and Fixed Date for Elections (“No” … Continue reading

Applying the Balancing Act to Compliance and Customer Service in the Caribbean

by Aesia B. Worme Compliance, Compliance, Compliance. Talk to any banker, anywhere in the Caribbean, and this topic is certain to come up. Within the last five years, compliance with financial regulations has emerged as one of the major concerns affecting Caribbean banking operations, and it is constantly evolving with new legislature being created governing Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism financing (AML/CFT) laws and regulations, as well as Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) reporting. The ever-increasing threats of money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion are global and have indeed pushed many governments, financial services industry regulators, and … Continue reading

The dignity of the Obamas

As Barack Obama’s Presidency of the United States of America enters its final weeks, there are tens of millions of people in America and across the world who already feel a great sense of loss. That sense will be heightened even more on January 20 when he walks out the doors of the White House for the last time as President.  For this man brought an extraordinary dignity to the office; a dignity that never sagged, not even when a Republican Congressman, Joe Wilson, shouted out, “You lie”, in the midst of his State of the Union speech in 2009.  … Continue reading

By Claudette Joseph In an article published 10th October 2016, I made 2 observations about the Gender Equality Chapter of the Rights & Freedoms Bill. They are: (1) that the definition of “Gender” as being: “the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between male and female.” is sufficiently wide to embrace other genders in its interpretation; (2) that this all embracing meaning of “gender” together with the other provisions of the Bill and those of the existing Constitution quite possibly open the door for LGBT persons to assert Constitutional rights based on sexual orientation. For these observations, I have … Continue reading

Internet Gaming: The US-Antigua and Barbuda contention

For over 12 years, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda and the United States have been involved in a contention over an award by the World Trade Organisation in favour of Antigua and Barbuda over internet gaming. In March 2004, an Arbitration Panel set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) found that the US had violated its commitments under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to allow cross-border access to its market for internet gaming.  The adjudication by a WTO panel that Antigua and Barbuda has been deprived of trade revenues, was upheld three times by Appeal … Continue reading

Banking: Is the US making a stick to beat its own back?

Caribbean governments have rightly focussed on the severe consequences for their countries of the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations from regional banks by international banks, particularly those located in the US. But there will also be serious consequences for other parts of the world, particularly the US, if the current troubling trend remains unchecked. The gravest immediate threat is to Caribbean countries certainly. This not an abstract issue, restricted to the banking sector or governments. The adverse effects will spare no one.  They will affect every sector of economic and financial activity including tourism, importers and exporters of goods, and … Continue reading

Tick Tock: Shining a Light on the October Referendum

by Cynthia Barrow-Giles For the first time in their nation’s independence history Grenadians will get a chance to vote on constitutional reforms which are aimed at enhancing the political system. Grenadian voters are getting set for a national referendum in October that will decide whether they embrace critical constitutional change which will usher in a vastly improved system of governance or reject them and maintain a highly flawed constitutional system which, all but the politically inept, highly partisan or clueless believe is in the best interest of democratic governance. One of the unfortunate aspects of a referendum is that as … Continue reading

CONSTITUTION REFORM: THE PROCESS & THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF REFERENDUM DATE – PART 1

by Claudette Joseph   Since independence, successive governments have embarked on processes intending to conclude with reform of the Grenada Constitution. The main argument being that the people of Grenada was not sufficiently involved in the formation of the current Constitution so that, there isn’t a sufficient bond between the people and their Constitution. In more recent years, others have argued that Constitution reform is needed to bring the Constitution more in line with modern constitutions on issues such as gender equality and protection of the environment. Prior to the current process, there was the Constitution Review Commission of 1985 … Continue reading

CONSTITUTION OF GRENADA (RIGHTS & FREEDOMS) AMENDMENT BILL 2016 – PART 2

By Claudette Joseph In addition to the matters discussed in Part 1 of this article, the Rights and Freedoms Bill proposes to insert a new section protecting Intellectual Property rights as an enforceable fundamental right. Intellectual property rights are regarded as private, civil rights that are enforced under specific private laws. There are adequate, modernised laws on the books that allow citizens to sue either each other or the State if their IP rights are breached. Added to that, section 16(2) of the Constitution provides that the court may decline to exercise its powers under the Constitution if it is … Continue reading

CONSTITUTION OF GRENADA (RIGHTS & FREEDOMS) AMENDMENT BILL 2016 – PART 3:

Gender Equality – Chapter 1B   by Claudette Joseph The Referendum Bill proposes to insert a new Chapter 1B into the Constitution dealing with Gender equality. The Constitution as it is now provides in section 13 that persons should not be discriminated against on the basis of “sex” and further, that no law shall be passed that is discriminatory (on the basis of sex). Discriminatory is defined as affording different treatment to different persons based wholly or mainly on, among other things, their “sex”. Section 13 (5) of the Constitution provides, that there shall be no discrimination based on sex … Continue reading