27 February 2020
Ms Lisa Taylor
Grenada Bar Association
Dear Mme President,
Permit me to extend to you, the Executive and members of the Grenada Bar Association greetings and best wishes. Please be advised that I write this letter in my personal, individual capacity.
Thank you for your above-referenced Press Release which alerted we the people to the “imminent shut down” of the Supreme Court Registry, which “has come about as action is required to immediately address dangerous environmental conditions at the building housing the registry”. Your letter has noted the following:
- Issues affecting a vital part of Grenada’s legal system had been allowed to escalate to the point of crisis.
- Those responsible for addressing the problems had failed to give an adequate and timely response.
- Relocation had now been thrust upon the registry. Such relocation could have been planned and executed in a controlled way. Instead, there was a chaotic and haphazard reaction guaranteed to cause tremendous disruption to lawyers and the public.
What precipitated the “imminent closure” decision? To what location is the Registry being relocated? How can the Registry be closed with such scant notice to the Grenada Bar Association and the general public? And what about the security and accessibility of these precious records now in the Registry? Are our records safe? While relocation must be welcome news to the staff and other stakeholders affected by the environmental and health problems, what is the real reason for this precipitate decision?
It may be useful to recall that about one year ago, we the people became aware of the call for Expressions of Interest to undertake a Build, Own, Lease and Transfer (BOLT) arrangement re York House which was to become a Knowledge Centre and Museum, according to the advertisement. Is the “new owner” ready to take possession and build? And if there is a new owner via BOLT, what is the identity of that owner? By what process was the “new owner” selected?
Permit me to observe, Mme President of the Bar, that this latest action re the precipitate shut down and relocation of the Supreme Court Registry – the engine of our Judicial System – is just another symptom of the new normal in Grenada with respect to the Judiciary, the third co-equal arm of Grenada’s governance arrangements – a lack of consideration and respect for its proper functioning. This is UNACCEPTABLE. The Judiciary is essential to maintaining the rights and freedoms of our citizens and protecting the rule of law. Members of the legal profession are important guardians of the effective, efficient and honourable functioning of our Judiciary and I urge members of the Grenada Bar to not only be lawyers but to BE CITIZENS.
Thank you once again for bringing the matter of closure of the Supreme Court Registry to the attention of we the people. This is a VERY unsettling matter and we look forward to being kept updated about progress on this matter including the security and safety of our records and the resettling of the Registry staff in an appropriate, secure, safe and comfortable environment.
Sandra C A Ferguson
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