Court continues to struggle with backlog of cases

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs Elvin Nimrod has once again highlighted the backlog of cases in the local courts.

During his contribution to the 2017 Budget debate, in the Lower House, Minister Nimrod indicated that the backlog of cases is a prime factor for the delay in court matters being expedited at a quicker pace.

The elected representative for the Constituency of Carriacou & Petite Martinique admitted that the courts are not fully staffed.

He announced that government has agreed to facilitate another judge in the Civil division of the high court with the hope that it will assist in expediting judgements.

Lawyers have also pointed to a cutback in personnel at the Supreme Court Registry that is hampering the speedy delivery of transcripts from judges in helping to prepare for matters before the Court of Appeal.

The Legal Affairs Minister reminded the House of the Judicial Reform and Institutional Strengthening (JURIS) Project that was intended to reduce on the backlog of court cases.

During the life of the project some additional judges were brought into the jurisdiction to work on the backlog of cases.

According to Minister Nimrod, the project can be described as “highly successful,” and government will like to have it repeated.

He noted that out of a backlog of 173 cases, the judges were able to provide judgement on 166 of them.

The Legal Affairs Minister also applauded the role the mediation process is playing in reducing the backlog of cases.

Instead of going before a judge to have the matter adjudicated, both parties will appear before a court-appointed Mediator who will assist in resolving the contending issues.

The Deputy Prime Minister who is also the island’s Minister of Foreign Affairs told Parliament that Grenada recently exercised the option of appointing a non-resident High Commissioner in London.

The holder of the post is Pastor Karl Hood, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 2008-13 Congress government who defected to give support to the NNP in the 2013 general election.

Speculation is rife that the hierarchy of the government have lost confidence in both Hood and his brother, Cajeton Hood who currently holds the post of Attorney-General.

Government insiders have dropped hints that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is not inclined to renew Hood’s contract as AG which is due to end around March.

The Foreign Affairs Minister  told Parliament that the Government of Grenada maintains approximately ten diplomatic postings at the level of Embassies, High Commissions and Consular in foreign countries.
However, he said it is “extremely costly” to maintain these overseas missions as government has to justify how it spends the money in foreign postings.

“A government must be able to do a cost-benefit analysis to decide whether or not it is worthwhile to main an Embassy or High Commission abroad,” he added.

Minister Nimrod said the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been toying with the idea of joint representation in foreign countries for years but it is yet to bear fruits.

Grenada currently has diplomatic relations with 122 countries around the world.

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