The family of late Grenadian retired OECS Court of Appeal judge, Justice Albert Redhead is peeved at the scant courtesy shown to him last Tuesday by officials from Grenada at the official funeral afforded him by his adopted homeland Antigua.
A family member told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that it was shocking that the government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell in St. George’s did not send an official to represent Grenada at the funeral that was attended by leading government, opposition and legal luminaries from throughout the Eastern Caribbean.
She said that people came from as far away as Abu Dubai, Canada, Belize and the Bahamas to pay their final rites to the late Grenadian jurist who served the legal profession for just over 45 years.
The Antigua Governor-General, Sir Rodney Williams, as well as Prime Minister Gaston Brown, and Leader of the United Progress Party (UPP) Harold Lovell were present for the funeral service held at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in the capital city.
The official funeral service also attracted the President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Adrian Saunders, the Chief Justice and Chief Magistrate of Belize, Supreme Court Justice of The Bahamas, and a number of judges from throughout the OECS except Grenada.
According to the family member, the only person from Grenada who made contact with the wife of the late Justice Redhead is former high court judge, Justice Lyle St. Paul and his wife Margaret who sent a floral arrangement for the funeral.
Attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson was the only practicing lawyer from Grenada who was at the funeral but in his capacity as a member of the OECS Bar.
The family member confirmed to this newspaper that Redhead’s wife is disappointed that she did not even receive a simple telephone call from Prime Minister Mitchell of Grenada to express condolences on the passing of the former Court of Appeal Judge, the first Grenadian to serve on the OECS Court of Appeal.
“She told me that she never received a call from the Prime Minister who was supposed to be his (Albert) friend and at one time provided free legal advice to Keith (Mitchell). She said that Keith (Mitchell) used to call Albert regularly for legal advice”, said the family member.
The family member recalled that after Hurricane Ivan devastated Grenada in September 2004, the late Court of Appeal judge and his wife flew into Grenada on a charter flight as “a friend” of the Prime Minister and personally delivered supplies to him at his private residence at Happy Hill in St. George North-west.
She indicated that the last known contact between the late Court of Appeal judge and the Grenadian leader took place just over a year ago when Justice Redhead telephoned Dr. Mitchell and congratulated him on his third 15-0 victory in general elections in the Spice Isle.However, the family member stressed that the relationship took a nose dive when Justice Redhead and other members of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLCS) blocked the Mitchell-led government’s attempt in the 2003-08 period to appoint controversial Jamaican attorney-at-law, Hugh Wildman as the island’s attorney-general.
Wildman’s application was also strenuously resisted by several members of the Grenada Bar Association.
According to another family member, the late Court of Appeal judge came to the assistance of Grenada within hours of the March 13, 1979 coup d’etat staged by the leftist New Jewel Movement (NJM) of Maurice Bishop against the elected Eric Gairy government.
He said that Bishop called on Redhead who was then serving in St. Kitts to intervene on the behalf of Grenada in the face of threats to withdraw the EC dollar by the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) on the revolutionary leaders for overthrowing an elected government.
He stated that Bishop shouted “Long Live the Revolution” when Redhead called him to report that he was able to convince the Currency Union not to proceed with the threat to withdraw the EC dollar from Grenada as it could have crippled the island’s economy and financial sector.
The Eastern Caribbean Court system was withdrawn from the new regime in St. George’s which forced Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) to set up its own court system with the late Sir Archibald Nedd serving as its Chief Justice.
According to the family member, the late Albert Redhead did “tremendous work” for Grenada over the years and should have been recognised by those now in authority who also benefitted from his service that was given at no cost.
The Eulogy at the official funeral of Justice Redhead was delivered by Sir Dennis Byron, the retired President of the CCJ and former Head of the OECS Court of Appeal who sat often together to adjudicate cases.
After the service, the body was carried by the Royal Antigua Police Force to the burial site at Parham Town about 15 minutes drive away from the capital city.
Up to the time of going to press, the widow of Justice Redhead had not heard from the Grenadian Prime Minister nor did the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) hold a special sitting of the high court to pay tribute to the late Court of Appeal judge.