There is indeed an emerging crisis within the Judiciary in Grenada.
And Monday’s protest action by lawyers to express their disgust with the situation is rather very late in coming.
The government’s own Legal Department is in serious crisis given the recent exodus of some of the legal people to ply their trade elsewhere.
Grenada has been without a Solicitor-General for several weeks since the departure of Attorney-at-law Dwight Horsford to take up a more lucrative contract as Attorney-General of the British dependency of Anguilla.
Horsford decided to move on with his career in light of the apparent decision taken by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell not to elevate him to the post of Attorney General as agreed between the two shortly after the March 13, 2018 general elections.
Within weeks of Horsford exit, a female lawyer in the department handed in her resignation and moved in with a private law firm and a competent Legal Secretary also walked out of her government job for greener pastures in the private sector.
The situation in the legal quarters of government took another nose dive within the past week with the departure of Registrar of the Supreme Court, Alana Twum-Barimah who quit the job allegedly over frustration.
The government is seemingly too pre-occupied at the moment with the politically explosive situation on its hands of the 25% dispute with teachers and public officers on their gratuity and pension payments.
Monday night’s appearance of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell on GBN’s “Beyond The Headlines” programme sent a chilling signal from the head of the government on his commitment to obey the laws of the land and the Judiciary.
The PM made it clear that he has no intention to go back to the old Colonial legislation of the 195o’s that was carried over into the 1974 Independence Constitution order that addressed the issue of pension for public officers.
The only interpretation that one can deduce from the utterances of Dr. Mitchell is that he would be prepared to disobey any court order that gives the greenlight to the 25% as demanded by the unions representing the affected workers.
There are several lawyers on the government side – Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, Legal Affairs minister Kindra Maturine-Stewart, and Senators Kim George and Cathisha Williams who know better and should have cautioned PM Mitchell about making such a public statement of defiance towards the Judiciary.
THE NEW TODAY would hate to think that these lawyers are fearful of speaking out and distancing themselves from what appears to be the growing dictatorship and one-man rule in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The evidence has been hitting us straight in the face for a long time of the disregard of PM Mitchell and his government for the independence of the Judiciary.
The people of this country should not forget the blatant attempt made by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of Ministers to ride shod over the Protocol put in place by the OECS Chief Justice to elevate lawyers to the prestigious rank of Queens Counsel.
The regime was bold-faced enough to single out two lawyers in private practice – Ruggles Ferguson and Derick Sylvester – for elevation when it is clear that the move should originate from the Grenada Bar Association (GBA).
No one would have raised eyebrows if the government had recommended lawyers in its employ for QC status rather than trying to extend its hands into the private bar to decide who from among them should be elevated in the profession.
The Mitchell-led government has also been squandering too much taxpayers’ money with little regards to value for money.
It used up thousands of dollars from the Treasury to prepare the Lime Building on the Carenage to house a number of high courts and within months had to abandon it in light of health-related concerns.
It shows that no proper inspection was done by government on the building with the use of its departments like the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour.
THE NEW TODAY is convinced that the NNP as a government has a problem on its hands and needs a new leash of life in going forward.
The 72-year old Prime Minister is showing signs of tiredness and needs to exit the scene for much younger and fresher legs to take over the reigns of government and inject some new life into the government and the running of the nation’s affairs.
The party should make the bold move of looking at someone else among the 14 elected Members of Parliament to take charge of the country.
This individual might bring a different and particular mindset to the many problems plaguing the country including the 25% issue with teachers and public officers, the looming judicial crisis and signs of massive mismanagement of several statutory bodies under the watch of the aging PM Mitchell.