A recent statement made by prominent attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden purportedly on behalf of one of the island’s two female high court judges on citing motorists for contempt of court for tooting their horns too loud outside her court is causing a stir in Grenada.
THE NEW TODAY is particularly concerned about this statement and views it as very draconian in nature especially in a country where the rule of law as opposed to rule of the jungle as practiced on a daily basis.
If the statement is correct, the first question that one has to ask is which law has been violated by a motorist using the Carenage motorway and tooting his/her horn?
If six motorists are using the road at the same time and toot their horns at the same time then which one of them will be hauled before the court and in front of the judge to face contempt proceedings.
And if the judge gets the police to bring in a motorist for violating her order, it would be interested to see under which law the judge would cite the individual for contempt of her court.
THE NEW TODAY is not aware of any existing law that will so empower a judge to take any action against any motorist in the country for tooting their horn on a public road to her annoyance while sitting in a court.
The judge has the right to bring anyone before her on a charge of contempt of court if he/she is within the precinct of the court and engages in a particular type of behaviour.
THE NEW TODAY believes that the judge might be going overboard with such a directive and might be usurping the powers of Parliament which is the only law-making body in the country.
In the absence of any such law on the books giving the judge the power to cite persons for contempt of court by tooting their horns on the Carenage motorway in such a manner as to disturb the proceedings in her court then the legislative branch of government should be approached to enact the necessary legislation.
It would be interesting to see how the Court of Appeal in a sitting presided over by the Chief Justice will rule on such a matter brought before it for adjudication.
The judge may seek the guidance of the Chief Justice since a person illegally penalised might take legal action which can turn out to be costly for the State in compensation at the end of the day.
The State should look at insulating the court building from noise as the more realistic solution to the problem given the location of the court house on a busy roadway and not seek to penalise motorists for tooting their horns which is a standard safety measure.
THE NEW TODAY would also like to address another issue of major concern in the country at the moment – the current composition of the Senate.
The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) would have officially raised it last week when in a column in this newspaper the party indicated that the Constitution might have been violated with the appointment of Glynis Roberts to serve as an Independent Senator in the Upper House.
The clean sweep of all 15 seats by the ruling New National Party (NNP) in the recent general election left the island without an official Opposition Leader whose duty it is to provide three names to Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade to serve in the Senate as Opposition Senator.
The Constitution provides for three independent Senators representing special interest which traditionally has been Agriculture, Trade Unions and the Business Community.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell did announce publicly that Mrs. Roberts who was appointed by the GG was given the instruments as an Independent Senator.
This means that there are now four instead of the three constitutionally provided for places now occupied by so-called Independent Senators in Parliament.
This newspaper understands that any person who voted in the March 13 general election can take legal action to get a court of law to determine whether the constitution has not been violated by the appointment of Mrs. Roberts as a 4th independent Senator in the Upper House.
It would be interested to hear the opinion of the country’s and Commonwealth recognised leading constitutional expert, Dr. Francis Alexis on the alleged constitutional breach with the appointment of a 4th Independent Senator to serve in the nation’s Parliament.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that in the national interest, our world renowned Dr. Alexis should bring some clarity and scholarship to the issue and should not wait for some kind of a retainer fee from any affected party to help bring closure to this very important issue.
Dr. Alexis can easily solve the issue by giving another expert opinion and finally laying to rest at no cost to the taxpayers of the country the view held in some quarters that Mrs. Roberts as it currently stands might just be an imposter in the island’s Upper House as a 4th Independent Senator.
Is the NNP trying to circumvent the Constitution by seeking to get another 8th Senator on its side in Parliament with the appointment of the NUF Political Leader who campaigned for the party in the south of the island two months ago in the general election?