by Linda Straker
- First amendment since legislation was approved in 1998
- Grenada’s extradition treaty with USA and with China not in harmony with 1998 legislation
- One matter lost in court due to failure to harmonise bilateral treaty with national law
Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives have approved the first step that will see a reduction in the threshold for persons to be extradited to and from Grenada as outlined in the 1998 Extradition Act.
“That is to ensure that Grenada as a country, as a State can discharge its obligations with respect to other countries and bilateral treaties,” said Kindra Maturine-Stewart when she presented an amendment to the Extradition Bill for debate during the Friday, 28 August sitting of the House of Representatives.
She explained to members that the amendment, which is the first since the legislation was approved in 1998, provides for harmonising extradition treaties with national legislation.
“Extradition offence” is currently defined as “conduct in the territory of a foreign State or a Commonwealth country which, if it occurred in Grenada, would constitute an offence which, on indictment, is punishable with imprisonment for a term of 5 years, or any greater punishment, and which, however, described in the laws of the foreign State or Commonwealth country is so punishable under those laws.”
“We are seeking to change that to 1 year instead of 5,” she told members as she presented the Bill and explained that Grenada can extradite a citizen of a country once the criminal offence committed provides for a sentence of 5 years or more, but there are bilateral treaties with a lower threshold.
“The Government of Grenada has entered into extradition treaties with other states for extraditing persons who could have been charged or convicted with offences punishable by imprisonment for at least a year,” she said.
Research has confirmed that Grenada’s extradition treaty with the USA which was signed in 2001, and with China which was signed 2018, are not in harmony with the 1998 legislation. Government has lost one matter in the court because of the failure to harmonise the bilateral treaty with the national law.
“Accordingly, this is to ensure that we as a country consider extradition request under our bilateral treaties,” said Maturine-Stewart who is a lawyer by profession and currently serves as the Minister for Legal Affairs.
The amendment second step will be approval in the Upper House or Senate which will then be followed with the relevant procedures by the Office of the Governor-General and finally publication in the Gazette with a date of effect.
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