The NEW TODAY as a matter of public interest has decided to reproduce the letters that forced the hands of former Resident Tutor of the School of Continuing Studies of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Grenada, Dr. Curtis Jacobs to take legal action against Governor-General, Dame Cecile De La Grenade.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson who is the leading barrister at Ciboney Chambers.
It was the second time within a year that Ferguson has been retained by a disgruntled Grenadian to challenge in court the decisions of the island’s first female Head of State.
Dr. Jacobs became incensed with the failure of Dame Cecile to pass onto the Queen in England his application for her to determine an ongoing dispute he had with his UWI bosses.
The educator was victorious in the end as the court ordered the Governor-General to pay legal costs of $750.00 to Dr. Jacobs.
The Private Secretary
Her Majesty The Queen
St. James’s Park
2014 February 17
First, please accept my apology for this breach of protocol by writing directly to you, but, in my opinion, the circumstances have made it necessary.
I am an officer of The University of the West Indies, of which Her Majesty The Queen has held the position of The Visitor since the grant of the Royal Charter in 1962. Last January, I submitted an application to The Visitor to Her Excellency the Governor-General of Grenada for the laying of this application before Her Majesty The Queen in her capacity as Visitor.
After some time, I enquired as to the status of the application, both verbally and in writing. I was then advised that Her Excellency had passed the application to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, that is to say, Her Majesty’s Government of Grenada, “for advice.”
At that time, I had appeared at the Office of the Governor-General to submit a second application to be laid before Her Majesty The Queen as Visitor. I did so. It was only after the submission of the second application that I retrieved the letter dated February 5, 2014, which occasioned my reply of February 14, 2014.
Please find enclosed one copy each of the two applications submitted to Her Excellency the Governor-General of Grenada and copies of the exchange of correspondence between the Office of the Governor-General and yours truly since January 21, 2014.
Separate and apart from the matters raised in my letter of February 14, 2014, there is the overarching issue of the delay of justice that has been occasioned by the passing of the Application of January 21, 2014, to the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Of course, I need hardly mention that the interference in the internal affairs of The University of the West Indies by Her Excellency the Governor-General is another matter of which Her Majesty the Queen as Visitor is likely to be concerned.
It was after careful consideration of the circumstances outlined above that I concluded that it was necessary to approach the Office of the Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen as Visitor, The University of the West Indies.
It is my hope that this breach of protocol is without prejudice to my applications to be laid before Her Majesty The Queen as Visitor.
I trust that my explanation for this breach of protocol is found to be clear, plausible and in order, even as I look forward to the consideration of my applications by The Visitor.
Mrs. Margaret Jawahir,
Personal Assistant to The Governor-General
Office of the Governor-General
2014 February 14
Dear Mrs. Jawahir,
Re: Application to Her Majesty The Queen, Visitor The University of the ‘West Indies
Thank: you very much for your letter dated 5th February 2014, Ref. GH, with respect to the Application to Her Majesty The Queen in her capacity as The Visitor, The University of the West Indies, which I received yesterday, February 13,2014.
In the first instance, I was somewhat surprised at being advised that the Application that I first submitted to the Office of the Governor-General on January 21, 2014, has not yet been forwarded to The Visitor; in the second, to be further advised that the matter has been passed to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for advice, has left me, to put it mildly, rather aghast.
I feel that I have to request that you advise Her Excellency that the first Application of January 21,2014, and indeed, the second Application of February 11,2014, are with respect to matters internal to The University of the West Indies.
Clause 6 of The Royal Charter places The Visitor as the highest judicial authority in The University of the West Indies, which, in practice, makes The Visitor arbiter of all internal disputes within The University of the West Indies itself.
Clause 6 of The Royal Charter clearly states that:
“We, our Heirs and Successors, shall be and remain the Visitor and Visitors of the University and in the exercise of the Visitorial Authority from time to time in such manner as we or they think fit may inspect the University, its buildings, laboratories and general work, equipment and also the examination, teaching and other activities of the University by such person or persons as may be appointed in that behalf.”
I also request that you further advise Her Excellency that no court in the Commonwealth Caribbean has the authority to adjudicate on internal disputes of The University of the West Indies in the first instance. This has been established in the history of the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth Caribbean more than two decades ago.
Two relatively recent judgments of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Jamaica would suffice. These are:
*Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica, Civil Division, Claim No. 2007 HCV 04736 between Dr. Matt Myrie and The University of the West Indies; and,
*Supreme Court of Judicature of Jamaica, Claim No. 2008 HCV 05999 between Vanessa Mason v The University of the West Indies, 2009.
In the records of the Appeal Court of Trinidad and Tobago, one I11flY refer to an earlier matter:
*Wadinambiaratchi v Hakeem Ahmad, Court of Appeal, 1985.
I respectfully request that you advise Her Excellency that her decision to refer the matter to The Ministry of Legal Affairs for advice is, to put it mildly, extraordinary and unprecedented.
The only reason why I decided to submit my two Applications to The Visitor via her official representative, The Governor-General of Grenada, is a matter of protocol.
As an official of The University of the West Indies, it is my right to appeal to The Visitor if I am of the opinion that my rights as an official of the University have been or are being infringed.
Since The Visitor of The University of the West Indies is also the Head of State of Grenada, that is, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Second, and as a Commonwealth citizen, I have resided in a Sovereign Realm of Great Britain since 2005, and, having availed myself of the protection of Her Majesty’s Government for nearly a decade, it was thought fitting and proper to forward the Applications to Her Majesty as the Visitor via her appointed represen1tative, The Governor-General.
This is a procedure that has been honoured by time and practice. In the case of Grenada, it may interest Her Excellency to know that this practice has existed since 1763, and, except for the period 1779-1783, when Grenada was ruled by France and the 1763 Constitution was suspended, this has been the practice.
On a few occasions this protocol was not observed, of which two most readily come to mind: in 1771 and 1775. On the latter occasion, the issues were regarded as so serious that The Governor summarily dissolved the elected Assembly when it refused to rescind an address to The King that was not directly forwarded through the Office of the Governor.
Surely, Her Excellency must be aware of all of this. While one cannot question the right of Her Excellency to peruse the contents of the Application, or Applications, even to the point of briefing The Visitor with respect to its contents, the decision to refer the matter to the Ministry of Legal Affairs, I respectfully submit, seems to be ultra vires.
In the light of the foregoing, I respectfully submit that the Ministry of Legal Affairs has no locus standi with respect to this matter, and further respectfully request that Her Excellency forward the Application dated January 21, 2014, and the Application dated February 11,2014, to The Visitor without further undue delay.
c.c. The Private Secretary
Her Majesty The Queen.