Court clears way for Grenadian Referendum this Thursday

Statement by Grenada Constitution Reform Advisory Committee

22 Nov 2016

The application for an injunction to stop the Supervisor of Elections of Grenada holding the Referendum on the reform of the Grenada Constitution fixed for this Thursday the 24th has been refused. This ruling was given today Tuesday the 22nd by High Court Judge Madame Justice Wynante Roberts. This clears the way for the Referendum to go ahead this Thursday.

Attorney-at-Law Mr James Bristol argued that the Ballot Paper to be used at the Referendum is required by the referendum laws to be dated with the actual referendum date. Dr Francis Alexis QC responding for the Supervisor of Elections pointed out that the Claimant had misconceived what the law requires, as the date relates, not to the Ballot Paper, but to the stub to which the Ballot Paper is attached. Mr Bristol then completely abandoned that point.

Mr Bristol contended that there were to be published in newspapers the Referendum Writs with the relevant constitutional amendment Bills ‘attached thereto’. Dr Alexis replied that when the Governor-General sends the Supervisor of Elections the Writs, the Bills can easily be ‘attached thereto’; but, Dr Alexis continued, the idea of Bills being attached to the Writs in the newspapers is not required by law and defies common sense. Roberts J agreed with Dr Alexis.

Further, Solicitor-General Mr Dwight Horsford argued, the requirement that the Claimant show that the balance of convenience favoured the granting of the injunction applied for was not satisfied by the Claimant. Therefore, Mr Horsford argued, the court ought not to grant the injunction to stop the Referendum. Roberts J agreed with the Solicitor General.

Attorney-General Mr Cajeton Hood led a team of lawyers for the Supervisor of Elections, which also included Mr Ruggles Ferguson.

With Mr Bristol for the Claimant was Ms Claudette Joseph.

One of the seven (7) Bills seeking the approval of the people of Grenada in the Referendum proposes that Grenada substitute the Caribbean Court of Justice (‘CCJ’) for the Privy Council as the final court of appeal for Grenada.

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