Bristol: Hearing lacked integrity

Former Attorney General James Bristol believes there was lack of integrity during the court hearing of an injunction that was filed to block the November 24 Referendum on Constitution changes.

Bristol referred to a number of issues during a television programme last week Tuesday night that transpired during the hearing of the matter that was filed in the name Valerie Thompson-Duncan who resides at Hillsborough in Carriacou.

He cited a number of issues that he sees a demonstrating lack of integrity in the process, and raised question marks about the integrity and transparency in the way the Keith Mitchell-led Administration conducted itself in the matter.

According to Bristol, the first abrogation which he claimed to be shocking was to have Supervisor of Elections, Alex Phillip represented by Chairman of the Constitutional Reform Advisory Council (CRAC), Dr. Francis Alexis along with Ruggles Ferguson who represents the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) Bar.

He said that Dr. Alexis and Ferguson were expected to have the interest of the people in the referendum process but it showed that “they really had the interest of the government at heart all the time”.

He suggested that the position taken by the two attorneys who are members of CRAC showed that their true purpose along with the advisory body amounted to conflict of interest.

“I think the public should take note of that. That was a serious conflict of interest, and that should never happen,” he said.

“Their action has spoken louder than words. This just shows and confirmed the suspicion, and the sinister nature in which this entire process had been carried out,” he added.

The former Attorney General charged that the secrecy with the referendum process continued into the judicial arena during the hearing of the injunction as he made reference to moves made by government to ambush him in seeking to prevent the injunction from being heard.

Bristol reminded the host of the television programme that the Referendum Act was passed on August 5th, and Section 27 required the Governor General to publish regulations that carry and challenge various aspects of the constitutional process.

He said that his legal papers were hastily filed on Friday at 3:55 p.m. so the process of the leave of the court was used to file the documents.

However, he said that on Monday he received court papers advising him that he cannot file the injunction through the leave of the court as the proper regulations were passed on Friday through the Statutory Rules and Order (SRO).

“More secrecy, it was an ambush. At 2:30 on Friday afternoon the Gazette was physically published, a few select copies were sent out, the Gazette takes a week to arrive, so they were never circulated,” he remarked.

Sources told THE NEW TODAY that the sitting judge, Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts did not pay much attention to the arguments on this specific issue as raised by the team of state lawyers.

The former Attorney General re-iterated his concerns  that the Alexis-led reform process is all about getting rid of the London-based Privy Council as the final appellate court in Grenada and everything else included on the Referendum ballot was put there in disguise.

He felt that change must not be made for changing sake, but must be made through education and understanding.

The electorate voted overwhelmingly to reject all seven Referendum bills.

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