Outspoken attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden has once again spoken out about the conditions under which judges are forced to function in some of the high courts on the island.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, the lawyer who is considered as a criminal specialist said that the high court did not sit last week because of a lack of facilities.
He stated that the only fully working court set aside to hear criminal matters had to be used to facilitate a conference involving Canada which is giving assistance to the Caribbean Justice Improvement project.
“We had some (criminal) matters in Court Number One (but) unfortunately, Court Number One was being used for the Conference of Canadians who are intent on providing the necessary funds to enhance the Justice Improvement Project,” he said.
However, Clouden said there could be some light at the end of the tunnel as the Canadians are committed to giving some assistance in the renovation and enhancement of its judicial facilities.
He pointed out that Grenada “may see emerging out of that (conference), court house readiness, renovations of the courts, among other things of the like…”.
The conference came on the heels of the opening of the 2015 criminal assizes, in which Madam Justice Gilford refused to sit and hear matters at the Number Two High Court.
The judge believes that the conditions are dangerous to her health and other users of the court and as such the Number Two High Court has been closed for renovations and some of the cases listed for assizes were moved to the Number One High Court.
Clouden supported the decision taken by the Lady Judge to not sit in the court in its current condition because it “is indeed a travesty (and) it is dangerous to her health”.
“If you go into her chambers it is molded and there is a scent in the air”, he remarked.
According to the attorney-at-law, it is clear that the court has become inaccessible for legal adjudication.
“The environment and the surroundings of the court are not conducive to the judges sitting and lawyers appearing,” he said, adding that the building structure is “molded and that when it rains water seeps into the court and the steps are always waterlogged.”
Clouden also disclosed that the Number Three High court, which is ready cannot sit at the moment due to the lack of a presiding judge.
He said the word circulating within the legal profession is that the situation could be improved with the appointment of “two new Justices to assist with the backlog of cases in the assizes.”
Only recently, the President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA), Ruggles Ferguson urged the two-year old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government to address some of the burning issues affecting the local Judiciary especially the lack of proper facilities for judges.