The postponement of the October 27 date for the referendum to sometime in November is nothing but incompetence from the Office of the Attorney-General headed by AG Cajeton Hood.
The holder of the office should resign in the public interest or the Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell should trigger his departure from the post over this waste of taxpayers money at a time of Structural Adjustment.
AG Hood is trying to pull wool over the eyes of the people by insinuating that the postponement of the Referendum Date had to do with government’s desire to give the electorate more time to be educated on the bills.
This is a whole set of hogwash and very far from the truth.
THE NEW TODAY is submitting that the powers-that-be were left in a tailspin after former Attorney-General, Jimmy Bristol appeared last Sunday on Chime FM radio station, operated by George Grant and challenged the legality of the date that was fixed for the holding of the referendum.
It is our understanding that Mr. Bristol was preparing legal papers to challenge the date in court when CRAC called an emergency press conference to announce the postponement.
In addition, an individual associated with the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) was put on standby to sign papers to challenge the October 27 date as announced for the Referendum.
The postponement of the date is being done at tremendous cost to the taxpayers of the country and a waste of the thousands of dollars given by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate Constitutional Reform in Grenada.
The Parliamentary Electoral Office will now have to destroy an estimated 100, 000 ballot papers that have already been printed with the date of October 27, 2016 for the seven bills on the one-page Referendum paper.
Shouldn’t someone be held accountable for this massive waste of taxpayers money. PM Mitchell, it cannot be business as usual.
This is not the first time that AG Hood has cost the taxpayers dearly with questionable legal advice.
The same Jimmy Bristol embarrassed Hood and the Mitchell-led government over a recent high court matter involving a St. Lucian company owed $EC3.8 million by the State in which a judge issued an order for the Consolidated Fund to be raided to recover the money.
Government was forced to recruit a high-priced Queen’s Counsel from outside of Grenada to take charge of the case and to file an appeal on its behalf in order to save face for the State on this matter and others before the court involving AG Hood.
A deliberate attempt is now being made to make the head of CRAC, Dr. Francis Alexis look as the scapegoat for the bad date that was selected by government for the holding of the Referendum.
This paper is not aware of Dr. Alexis selecting the date and even if he had suggested October 27 the onus was on AG Hood as the principal legal advisor to government to make sure that everything was in good order.
It is not Dr. Alexis who has to trigger the mechanisms with the Governor-General for the issuing of the Writs and the Date for the Referendum but the Attorney-General himself.
This is just another attempt by someone to try and save face for incompetence in high public office.
PM Mitchell as Minister of Finance should safeguard the public’s purse and look to someone with more legal competence to save the taxpayers of this country.
AG Hood is getting in the region of EC$16, 000.00 a month plus perks and the State is forced at times to turn to other legal persons for proper advice.
The word in government circles is that the Prime Minister is now safeguarding himself by making sure that he is surrounded by another person who sits in an office in the Botanical Gardens and offers him legal Advice on State matters from time to time.
This must be embarrassing to AG Hood because a message is being sent to him about the quality of legal advice that he is rendering.
The postponement of the Referendum Date is now casting grave doubts on whether it would even be held in November as announced at Tuesday’s press conference.
The crucial 2017 budget set for next month is definitely an election budget by PM Mitchell and his ruling New National Party (NNP) and can be considered as far more important to the powers-that-be in the scheme of things than the Referendum.
The Prime Minister is not a political fool and would not like to hold a referendum and lose the vote very close to a national poll.
The powers-that-be might right now be giving serious thought to the issue of Referendum vs National election in the face of this major bungling by the Attorney-General.