I cannot understand that after forty-three years of independence, we are still pledging allegiance to the Queen of England and at the same time we are convinced that we are a genuine independent nation.
Let us take a look at things. Our prison still remains her Majesty’s prison at Richmond Hill, our police force still remains the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
Grenada still remains a constitutional monarchy with a Governor General as head of state even though she must act on the advise of the Prime Minister.
It should not also be forgotten that the role of the GG is largely ceremonial. I am really bewildered by our democratic claim.
We still continue to say that the arms of government, or the separation of powers must remain independent of each other.
Today when a government minister takes the oath of public office, he/she is still pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth 11, and we still remain among sixty-one other former British colonies, which is known as the Commonwealth of Nations.
Are we benefiting anything from this alliance? It is also noticeable that many of the states are now embarking on removing the image of Queen Elizabeth on their money and other institutions of the state apparatus.
Are we really an independent nation? Imagine we are using a Westminster style of democracy called first pass the post, which clearly does not represent true democracy.
The absence of constitutional reform still adversely affects our justice system today. Imagine in the last general election, the NDC obtained 46.6% of the votes but could not be represented in the Parliament.
This would have been different if we were using Proportional Representation in countries like the United States and Guyana etc. I cannot help but wonder when I see how negatively we are affected especially among our justice system.
Our judiciary is broken, our jurisprudence or the principles of justice is much to be desired. I am bewildered by the judiciary in this country.
Could you imagine that there is no filtering of juries where accused persons can get a fair trial? Persons who commit crimes are denied justice.
There is literally no legal aid for them and we are witnessing more and more young men going to jail. There is no more space in the prison.
There are quite a few lawyers who have been bought out by this present administration and as a result engage in great conflict of interest in representing their clients while they are serving the government at the same time.
There are young men who are sitting inside Richmond Hill prison hopelessly because they cannot afford a lawyer. What are our policymakers doing?
There are social workers who are working mainly for the police, likewise some doctors. These lawyers are only bent on money – some of them are not even showing up in court because they are also serving the government.
I do not understand what is happening in this country. I do not comprehend what is going on.
There are two police officers who are serving time at Richmond Hill prison but I am not sure if they were discharged from the force.
However, these police officers are not receiving any income to help their cause but only depend on their families on the outside.
One of the officers’ appeal form was delayed at the said Richmond Hill prison. This was deliberately held back thus denying him justice from the Court of Appeal to the delay.
In my opinion the justice system is designed to be more retributive than rehabilitative.
There is nothing in place when these young men come out from prison but stigmatisation. Society has failed these persons. I had a chance to see the operation within the Richmond Hill prison and am urging the government to intervene especially in the preparation of food.
I have witnessed that fish is served to inmates without removing the scale. The condition of the prison needs outside and immediate attention.
Inspite of the crimes committed by inmates, they are still human beings. Could you imagine that some prisoners made three years on Remand and then proven not guilty?
And when they ask for some form of compensation after loosing three years in they lives held in prison the government is saying they have no money. Is that the justice we talk so much about?
When one goes to prison it is for punishment and rehabilitation, not stigmatisation.
The more person end up in prison is the less they will find employment outside when released from custody.
We need to start looking at some form of community service as a punishment rather than imprisonment.
If we do not start to think outside the box, we will continue to have more crimes.