The Government of Grenada has committed to ensuring that much-needed improvements are made to enable greater efficiency in the functioning of the legal system.
Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell made the comments while addressing staff at the Ministry of Legal affairs last week Wednesday.
He noted that the period of structural adjustment necessitated a number of tough decisions as it relates to recruitment of staff and level of emolument.
“I recognise that over the years we have lost staff but I have now given clear instructions for upgrading this ministry, ensuring that we invest appropriately in the right staff complement. It will be penny-wise and pound-foolish if we fail to do what is necessary to improve the functioning of the Ministry of Legal Affairs.”
The Prime Minister expressed concern about the number of cases before the court in which Government has been mandated to pay compensation.
He said, “We have lost a number of cases because we have not put our best foot forward. This cannot be allowed to continue. The ministry must have the appropriate staff to efficiently carry out the duties expected of it. The Ministry of Legal Affairs can in fact make or break this Government.”
In the 2019 budget, Dr. Mitchell who is also the Minister of Finance disclosed that a portion of funds obtained from the World Bank on concessionary terms will be used to compensate claimants, some of whom have claims that predate the current administration.
At last Wednesday’s meeting, Dr. Mitchell said, “Government cannot shirk its responsibility to compensate persons but when you have to find massive amounts of money to pay for cases that may have gone completely different with better representation, it is a hard pill to swallow. The EC $40 million we will be using to pay claimants could have easily been spent on more important things but Government will obey the rule of law.”
On the subject of staffing, the Prime Minister noted that there has been a number of high-level appointments in the ministry lately to build human capacity. He underscored the need for unity as a critical element to seeing real results from the investments being made.
Dr. Mitchell said, “Persons may have different roles but we are all working towards a common objective. Teamwork is a fundamental necessity and we must be unified in our approach. There must also be greater discourse on matters that have national implications.”
Looking to the future, the Prime Minister expressed confidence in the leadership of the new Attorney General, Mr. Darshan Ramdhani and his ability to ensure far more superior legal representation than the Government has experienced in recent years.
The Prime Minister also gave assurances that the physical space in which staff of the ministry is required to work, will be addressed.
He spoke of short and medium to long term plans to ensure that the physical work environment is conducive to motivating staff to perform at optimal levels.
Last Wednesday’s meeting was the first in a series of engagements the Prime Minister plans to undertake with staff in the various ministries across Government. He has already met with most of the staff in the ministries under his portfolio.