Grenada’s first female Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade has been having it tough legally since assuming the post on March 27, 2013 and has been ordered by a local court to pay legal cost to a premier educator on the island.
During her 17 months tenure, Dame Cecile has had two legal lawsuits slapped on her by locals not satisfied with her on the handling of matters involving them.
The first was taken by sacked Supervisor of Elections, Judy Benoit who did not like the manner in which she was dismissed by the GG from the post after a good review of her performance on the job by the Organisation of American States. (OAS).
Former Resident Tutor of the School of Continuing Studies of the University of the West Indies at Marryshow House, Dr. Curtis Jacobs is the other person who was forced to file a lawsuit against the Governor-General for alleged inaction.
Dr. Jacobs felt that Dame Cecile was giving him the run around in his efforts to reach the Queen in England to trigger off the mechanisms that Could resolve a dispute he was having with the regional university.
Under the Royal Charter of 1972 that governs the establishment of the University, the British Monarch is deemed to have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine internal disputes within UWI.
A dispute had arose in early 2013 between Dr. Jacobs and the University over a new contract that was offered to him to remain in charge of the Grenada operations.
A peeved Dr. Jacobs decided to take the matter to Queen Elizabeth for adjudication and formally forwarded to the Queen’s representative on the island, Dame Cecile the necessary correspondence to sent to the British Monarch.
However, instead of forwarding the package, the GG sent them to the Ministry of Legal Affairs for advice on how to treat with the matter.
According to Dr. Jacobs, he regarded the actions taken by Dame Cecile against him as “arbitrary, illegal, unreasonable, irrational and a denial of due process” since by law she was the conduit to reaching the Queen.
He retained the services of Ciboney Chambers to take on the Governor-General in a legal battle to be heard by high court judge, Justice Margaret Mohammed who presides over civil proceedings on the island.
The law firm then filed before the Supreme Court Registry an application for leave to apply for judicial review of the refusal of Dame Cecile to disclose to Dr. Jacobs information regarding the status of his application to Queen Elizabeth for relief against UWI in their dispute.
The documents outlined the following:
“The Applicant Dr. Curtis Jacobs of Bay Gardens, St. Paul’s in the parish of St. George in the State of Grenada applies to the Court for an Order that leave be granted to apply for Judicial Review of the refusal by Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade to disclose to him information regarding the status of applications to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Visitor of The University of the West Indies for relief against his employer The University of the West Indies; and of the refusal by Her Excellency the Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade to forward his applications to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Visitor of The University of the West Indies for relief against his employer The University of the West Indies.
The relief sought is:
(a). A declaration that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (“Her Majesty”) is the Visitor of (the University of the West Indies pursuant to the Royal Charter 1972 which confirms the existence and regulates the operations of The University of the West Indies;
(b). A declaration that pursuant to the Royal Charter 1972 Her Majesty has exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes internal to The University of the West Indies;
(c). A declaration that Her Majesty has exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine the extant dispute between the Applicant and The University of the West Indies;
(d). A declaration that the appropriate procedure for submission of an application to Her Majesty as Visitor is through the Respondent (Dame Cecile) in her capacity as Representative of Her Majesty;
(e). A declaration that the refusal or failure of the Respondent to disclose to the Applicant the status of his applications which he submitted to the Respondent in January and February 2014 is arbitrary, illegal, unreasonable and irrational;
(f). A declaration that the refusal or failure of the Respondent to forward the Applicant’s applications to Her Majesty for relief against The University of The West Indies is arbitrary, illegal, unreasonable, irrational and a denial of due process;
(g). An Order of Mandamus compelling the Respondent to deliver up the Applicant’s applications to Her Majesty forthwith;
The court action filed by Ciboney Chambers also set out the grounds for the Application to get the court to force the hands of Dame Cecile.
(a) The Applicant is a member of the staff of The University of the West Indies (“UWI”);
(b). The Operations of UWI are regulated by the Royal Charter 1972;
(c). The Applicant has a dispute with UWl centered around the terms and conditions of his employment;
(d). Clause 6 of the Royal Charter 1972 appoints Her Majesty as Visitor of UWI;
(e). The Visitor of UWI has exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes pertaining to matters internal to UWI;
(f). The Applicant has applied to Her Majesty for relief against UWI pertaining to his dispute with UWI;
(g). The Applicant submitted two applications addressed to Her Majesty as Visitor of UWl, to the Respondent, in her capacity as Representative of Her Majesty, to be forwarded to Her Majesty;
(h). To date despite repeated requests the Respondent has refused or otherwise failed to forward the Applicant’s applications to Her Majesty and has refused or otherwise failed to provide information on the current status of the Applicant’s applications;
(i). The refusal of the Respondent to disclose the status of the Applicant’s applications and to forward the Applicant’s applications is arbitrary, illegal, unreasonable, irrational and a denial of due process to the Applicant;
(j). The actions of the Respondent have caused grave prejudice to the Applicant.
The impending legal action was only aborted when Dame Cecile, through the Chambers of the Attorney-General informed Ciboney Chambers that Dr. Jacobs’ correspondence was dispatched for the attention of the Queen.
A letter dated June 3, 2014 by attorney-at-law, Kinna Marrast-Victor in the AG’s Office to Ciboney Chambers noted that the delay in responding to the Dame Cecile/Jacobs impasse “was only due to an inadvertent administrative oversight”.
“The letter went on to say: “Her Excellency, upon receipt of Dr. Jacobs application sought legal advice to ensure that the proper channel was being utilised. At all times, Her Excellency was intent on ensuring that the proper procedure is followed and Dr. Jacobs’ application is dealt with expeditiously”.
“Be assured that having received legal advice, Her Excellency forthwith dispatched Dr. Jacobs’ application to Her Majesty the Queen and directed that a response be given (to Ciboney Chambers).
“We trust that this assurance obviates the need for the civil claim (filed against Dame Cecile) brought on behalf of Dr. Jacobs and that same would be discontinued.
The court ordered Dame Cecile to pay legal cost of $750.00 to Dr. Jacobs.
THE NEW TODAY is not clear whether the GG will pay the funds personally or get the State to pay the cost to Dr. Jacobs.