by Tricia Simon
I arrived in Grenada on 11 February 2020 and I am still here. Shortly after I was asked to collaborate to produce a “Quarantine in Paradise” segment for “Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean” with the Grenada Tourism Authority.
This experience and living in Grenada provided me with the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of Grenada. Thus, I can safely say that Grenada is immensely beautiful, especially locales as the world-renowned Grand Anse Beach with its tranquil, turquoise waters. With this, we as Grenadians as well as visitors are required to pay homage to our collective inheritance of this beautiful “Isle of Spice” and so we are all obligated to leave it a much better place for future generations.
Our collective rights and freedoms are enshrined in the Constitution of Grenada, easily accessible for anyone to review and we all should be familiar with this document. The first chapter speaks to the “Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms” specifically the “right to work” which states,
Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
- Fundamental rights and freedoms
Whereas every person in Grenada is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms,
that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions,
colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for
the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely—
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association;
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from
deprivation of property without compensation; and
(d) the right to work,
the provisions of this Part shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to
those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in
these provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights
and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the
As stated above, we are all endowed with the constitutional right to work under the Constitution of Grenada but one must be mindful that each constitutional right is subject to limitations. Those individual rights are limited in regards to how they affect the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
This brings me to beautiful Grenada and the public interest. Last week we experienced a deluge of rain which resulted in property damage to individuals such as the roadside, sidewalk vendors, and several other businesses. I am sending out heartfelt regrets to their loss as they are merely trying to cover the bills for basic sustenance. Yes, vendors do have a constitutional right to work, but they too need to be mindful of the fact that their actions affect Grenada the beautiful (public interest) and that of others. With that said there are serious health and safety, environmental and social issues with the numerous roadside vendors we see in Grenada. Thus, guidelines should be put into place to ensure that Grenada remains beautiful and the rule of law reigns supreme.
A scheme can be adopted where there are designated spots so individuals can vend on the roadside as vendors are now situated on dangerous corners, busy intersections and flood plains. The sheds should be uniformed with wheels which would allow for easy removal, proper toilet facilities and licenced. With proper licence it would help to prevent praedial larceny in agriculture. Permission must be obtained from the Physical Planning Authority as they are provided with a mandate in regards to land use in Grenada. Specific areas are set aside for vending including the market square and the Nation Stadium in St George’s thus, they should be used for those purposes. Other areas such as community centres and playing fields (perimeter) can be used to house vendors. We too, as purchasers, should be mindful that we contribute to this pervasive practice of dangerous business locale.
In River Road the St John’s River needs to be widened due to climate change, but how can this be done when along the river course individuals reside and businesses operate. The practice of building and vending on the side of the road and in precarious locations is prevalent in Grenada. The entities are actually endangering their lives, customers and business because when the water coming ‘e comin down…water for so”. As climate change accelerate, we can expect more torrential rainstorms as evidenced during the last weekend. So, placing a building in a precarious location would result in further loss as the water would follow its natural course, head for Grand Anse beach and all the beautiful beaches we collectively share and own. Structures built on flood plains would experience continuous flooding and how often are we as taxpayers expected to pay for cleanup?
Disclaimer, I do not know how to drive and I do not really intend to learn, so I am grateful for all my family, friends, colleagues and bus drivers who provide me with mobility. In my travels throughout Grenada, I saw the blatant disregard for the rules of the road. Cars and used derelict vehicles were parked with no regard for the other drivers or pedestrians.
How can a vehicle be parked on the sidewalk blocking pedestrian traffic? What happens if there is an accident and the sidewalk needs to be used? Are we asking an elderly person who is wheelchair-bound to instead use the road because the sidewalk is blocked with a vehicle? Is a mother with a child in a stroller to push the stroller in the road because the sidewalk is blocked? So yes, you are entitled to work but that should be done taking into consideration the limitation of the public good.
We are “Pure Grenada” and sell this beautiful island as a tourist destination, so we as a collective need to ensure we retain that title.
Tricia Simon is an Attorney-at-Law called to the bar in the State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the Province of Ontario, Canada.
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