Arrogance and deceit!!!
These are the two words to describe the fresh attempt by the powers-that-be on the island to get the Grenadian electorate to vote for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) instead of the London-based Privy Council as the final appellate court for the island.
The deceit was manifested up to Sunday at the annual convention of the ruling New National Party (NNP) when Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David made some of the most misleading statements by a leading political figure for 2018.
Mr. David sought to make us believe that everybody including the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), trade union movement and the churches were fully on board with the CCJ.
The NDC has been making it quite clear in the last two to three weeks that the electorate should vote “No” for the CCJ as it outlined the reasons for adopting such a position including flaws in the CCJ bill as passed by both Houses of Parliament.
Senator Andre Lewis has repeatedly stated the position of the Grenada Trade Union Council (GTUC) on the CCJ and called for a specific inclusion in the Bill – the inclusion of a section for the CCJ to be allowed to determine matters arising from a General election instead of only the OECS Court of Appeal.
THE NEW TODAY is advancing the notion that Sen. Lewis was representing the views of thousands of workers in the country including those belonging to the Technical & Allied Workers Union (TAWU), Public Workers Union (PWU), Commercial & Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), Bank & General Workers Union (BGWU) and the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) among others.
It was quite deceitful of Minister David to use the NNP platform which was open to the wide world through Social Media to misrepresent the views of the Labour unions and others on the CCJ issue.
This newspaper is not aware of any position put out by the Conference of Churches of Grenada (CCG) to urge church members to vote for CCJ.
Perhaps, Mr. David might have been referring to those churches that are getting subsidies from government to carry out their activities including duty-free concessions for some church leaders in exchange for the CCJ vote.
The Roman Catholic Church is the most dominant of the religious groups in the country and is not known to have put out any statement to urge its followers to vote either for or against the CCJ on Referendum Day.
Is Peter David really singing for “his supper” with the hope of one day pleasing his “master” sufficiently that he will eventually hand over the Prime Ministership of the country to him?
The arrogance of the powers-that-be can be gleaned from the manner in which it is refusing to sit down with persons and groups expressing concerns with the current CCJ Bill and engaging in fruitful and meaningful debate on the issue.
The posturing of the committee that is led by Acting Attorney-General Dr. Lawrence Joseph and includes the likes of Dr. Francis Alexis and Ruggles Ferguson is nothing but “take it” or leave it as nothing is wrong with the bill in its present form.
The deceit can also be seen through the position being advanced by the “Vote Yes” platform that matters will be heard more speedily and cheaper for Grenadians by the CCJ as opposed to the Privy Council.
The untruthfulness of this line was seen at the most recent sitting of the Court of Appeal when the Justices were forced to release from prison a number of persons with appeal matters pending, back into the society on bail due to the extremely long delays in getting transcripts in some cases outstanding by up to four years from the high court.
If these matters cannot be heard in reasonable time by the Court of Appeal when will the affected parties hope to get justice before the CCJ?
The Executive branch of the government must first address this serious impediment to justice before coming to the people to vote for the CCJ under the guise that justice will now be more speedily done under the CCJ as opposed to sticking to the Privy Council.
THE NEW TODAY wishes to remind all concerned that the Referendum should not be seen as anything close to what transpired in the March 13 general election when the NNP for the second consecutive time ended up with a clean sweep of all 15 seats at the polls.
Former Finance Minister, Nazim Burke who led NDC into the disastrous elections has removed himself from the political scene and will not be an issue on Referendum Day.
The reality of the situation is that one of the factors that affected Congress’ chances at the poll was that many persons in the country preferred to remain with Dr. Mitchell as “the Chief” for the time being and did not want to replace him with Burke.
The NDC should be telling the powers-that-be that in light of the two post-election reports from the Observer Missions of both the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that conditional support to the CCJ will only be given as part of the wider agenda for Electoral Reform as suggested by these two groupings of which Grenada is a member.
It is quite obvious that the powers-that-be are pumping millions into the “Vote Yes” campaign in order to effect Constitutional changes.
The NNP leaders are banking heavily on winning the vote on Tuesday largely on the grounds that the NDC is very much divided and in a sorry state of disarray to galvanise its supporters to heed the call and reject the CCJ Bill on Tuesday.
Is the CCJ more important for PM Mitchell than addressing the current state of Grenada – the emerging lawless society, a terrible health situation in the country with the two X-ray machines at Princess Alice hospital in Mirabeau and the General Hospital not working, the judicial system in disarray, construction workers in the dream project – Silver Sands being laid off and rotated and now on the breadline?
THE NEW TODAY is fearful that the only reason why the Prime Minister is continuing to push the CCJ is for his legacy and to massage his huge ego after winning three elections 15-0 against his political opponents.