by Linda Straker
- Since 1974, only 15 cases from Grenada made it to the Privy Council
- Each eligible voter has a right to participate in the upcoming referendum
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell believes that whether a voter chooses to vote no or yes, each eligible voter has a right to participate in the upcoming referendum which is seeking to make the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the island’s final appellate court.
“Government’s responsibility is to put the issue before the population. The population’s responsibility is to participate or not participate as they choose and to participate the way in which they wish to participate, whether it is to vote yes or note no,” Dr Mitchell said in his opening remarks as the guest of the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Wednesday.
“As a government and a political organisation, we have certainly recorded our own position, and we wish for the people to vote yes,” he said. The referendum is scheduled for 6 November. Dr Mitchell promised that following the ruling New National Party annual convention on Sunday, 28 October 2018, there will be increased activities among supporters at the community and village levels.
As part of the educational exercise in the lead-up to the vote, members of the CCJ Advisory Committee have been holding sessions in various communities providing information about the CCJ and explaining why a yes vote for the CCJ Bill will provide quicker access to justice.
Dr Lawrence Joseph, Chairman of the Advisory Committee, said that he is quite satisfied with the achievement of the committee, but in recent times there are some people who are engaging in activities that can work against the committee’s call to vote yes.
“We have had a number of parish meetings, and people have been asking questions. We have been talking to various organisations as to what the CCJ is all about and its appellate jurisdiction, and I am quite satisfied despite some people are trying to throw muddy waters in the whole process,” he said.
Grenada’s current final appellate court is the London-based Privy Council, and since gaining independence in 1974, only 15 cases from Grenada made it to the Privy Council. Member of the Privy Council Dr Francis Alexis said that most of these cases were for murder accused.