A local attorney-at-law who once served as Attorney General under the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government, has now accused the regime of engaging in “excessive” behaviour towards Grenadians.
Cajeton Hood made the charge in an interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper as the attorney on record in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a secondary schoolteacher who sued the Mitchell government for docking her November salary after teachers took strike action in a dispute with government on pension and gratuity payments.
Hood has accused the NNP government of engaging in “excesses” against the female teacher of St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, who was allegedly singled out and heavily questioned, while on the job, by an official the Ministry of Education on the court issue.
“The Ministry of Education sent an official to harass the teacher in the school, singling her out, asked her all kinds of questions, put to her that she didn’t come to school, asked for her lesson plan and report for the month of November (2018) and she provided it but…I think it was extreme,” he told this newspaper.
The female school teacher was one (1) of several public servants who participated in a Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) sanctioned strike action on the aggravating issue of pension and gratuity payments, prompted by what is perceived to be a violation on the part of government of the terms in a pre-election Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between them days ahead of the March 13, 2018 General Election.
Attorney Hood felt that this action was taken against the teacher as part of a strategy “to quell the desire of persons to seek to have their rights dealt with (in other words the government is saying) how you dare go to court regarding what we have done…go on and we’ll teach you a lesson too”.
“…This is the conduct that is taking place in our Grenada at this point in the 21st century and I remember walking up and down the streets in the 1970s complaining about (Eric) Gairy’s actions and how he used to do the same thing and now in 2019 we are seeing the same things happening in our Grenada,” he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell has a firm grip on the nation’s Parliament that has been without opposition representation following back to back 15-0 victories at the polls in the 2013 and 2018 general elections.
Attorney Hood expressed concerns with the conduct of the Public Service Commission (PSC) in response to two (2) letters sent by him on behalf of his client on the action taken against the teacher.
He said: “There was no response to the first letter; after we wrote the second letter we got an acknowledgment of the first letter and strange, very strange, the Public Service Commission said to us that they are sending the matter to the Attorney General for advice.
“…I am shocked because they (the PSC) are supposed to be independent and the Attorney General is the advisor to the Cabinet and a member of Cabinet and I wrote to them (the PSC) complaining about the conduct of the Cabinet. So, how could they tell me they are sending it to the Cabinet’s advisor for advice”, he remarked.
“I am honestly really, really frightened regarding the excesses that I am seeing…and I am saying these things because I believe I have a stake in Grenada, I have children (and) grand children in Grenada, who will grow up here and we have to set a standard and persons have to stand up and be counted because we are apparently descending into some kind of state that I am not going to be proud of”, he said.
Legal sources told THE NEW TODAY that the proper channel to be used by the PSC is to send the matter to the Solicitor General for legal advice.
However, Grenada has been without a Solicitor General for the past four months following the resignation of Attorney-at-law Dwight Horsford to pick up a lucrative job as Attorney General in the British territory of Anguilla.
THE NEW TODAY understands that a female Grenadian lawyer now based in St. Kitts will soon assume duties as Solicitor General.