The media holds the repute of being the most influential of the fourth estate in the nation – the Fourth Estate comprises the wide civil society organisations, excluding the political segment. In fact, the media is unofficially the fourth arm of government and thus it deserves respect and support – the other arms constitutionally recognised are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
This designation ascribes the media as having a powerful and important responsibility in the interest of the general public, it being the bastion of truth and democracy, as well as devoted to researches and investigations and to checks and balances, unless in a totalitarian society where its independent role would be frustrated.
Every media outlet has (or, should have) an editorial policy, whether implicitly or explicitly, within the confines of the universally noted responsibility and normal ethics. Particularly, the Editorial of a newspaper must be regarded as the premium column of that newspaper, providing uplifting material in an objective and lucid manner and which can stand the test of wisdom and of time. In fact, all columns must be of worth to the readers.
The Editorial appearing in Vol. 34 No. 19, week ending Friday May 11th 2018 of the Grenada Informer newspaper, entitled “Nothing wrong with the CCJ” provokes many concerns. For the inquiring minds, the editorial should generate many questions and to the thinking minds, it could lead to many conclusions.
If the intention is to educate and motivate the general public on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) then the editorial failed in providing adequate information, or providing supporting evidence on the CCJ’s institutional existence, and it has not even provided any sources or any references for obtaining the pertinent information.
Moreover, there is no direct validation by the editorial in declaring the thinking and approval of its so-called large majority of Grenadians thus, “there are much more benefits to be derived from adopting the CCJ than any disadvantage that they perceive.”
Without presenting specific explanations as to how nothing is wrong with the CCJ, especially in terms of the integrity and effectiveness of its operational status and structural configuration, the editorial attempts to generate some of the merits for having Grenada accede to the CCJ as the final court of appeal and some of the reasons that people feel Grenada should not join.
The editorial affirms the recent Windrush debate as a reason for the CCJ; that is, “to realise real independence as a region … and certainly one of the many ways to do this is to be in charge of every aspect of the dispensation of justice.”
The availability of a Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice-related matters) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 has been reported in the mainstream media, and an official for the CCJ, Attorney Ruggles Ferguson, confirmed that there was a draft bill circulated to the Bar Association and other entities and that draft bill is intended to be introduced to Parliament on Tuesday (15 May 2018) for the first reading.
Unfortunately, this procedure is undertaken without the people first given the chance to contribute to the content of the draft bill, or even for them to study a White Paper on the CCJ bill. Is this attitude and approach by the powers-that-be of no significance to the Informer newspaper in having the people making a sound and informed decision on the CCJ?
The editorial also failed to give any assessment on the content and structure of the draft CCJ bill, as well as whatever implications there may be of the bill for the Grenadians, especially the young people, whether immediately or in the future. Instead, it gives reasons for the rejection of the first CCJ bill in the 24 November 2016 constitutional referenda, as it expresses, “The issue of the CCJ as a stand-alone bill will no doubt give it much more legitimacy and the proponents would be better able to apprise citizens of its benefits than when it was part of a chaotic mix wherein many of the other proposals were controversial and/or unfair”.
Is this expression giving the impression that the (new) CCJ bill does not have a number of proposals, topics, sub-issues and concepts and that the bill is not controversial and/or unclear; and thus, is the Informer newspaper satisfied that the bill is already perfect?
This editorial of the Friday, May 11th 2018 Informer seems to be deficient in establishing its heading. Furthermore, the editor owes the general public much accuracy and/or clarification on the statement, “There is nothing at all intrinsically wrong with Grenada emulating the Bahamas, Brazil, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica and other states and coming under the jurisdiction of the CCJ”.
What is the motive and message for, or in what sense is, the advice? Indeed, it should be productive for the newspaper to adopt a specially delegated column on the programmes and developments of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), with focus on the principles of CCJ, as part of a public service on Civic Education.
J. K. Roberts