Monday, 12th October 2020
Joseph K. Roberts
Jupa Road / Mon Plaisir
c/o Grand Roy Post Office
Her Excellency Dame Dr. Cecile La Grenade
Governor-General of Grenada
Office of the Governor-General
Dear Dame La Grenade :
Christian Greetings to you and yours; and God’s Blessings of tolerance, integrity, prosperity, security, peace and happiness for the State of Grenada, aptly amidst the COVID-19 scenario.
I am a born citizen of Grenada and one who is eligible and registered to vote in national elections including referenda. I am also affirming that I have a relevant interest in ensuring that the constitutional provisions for Grenada are not contravened, that sovereign rights are upheld, that civil and ethical norms are not eroded, that national institutions are not brought into disrepute, and that all citizens enjoy the democratic principles and gains of free and fair elections in the choosing of an ‘able administration’ for the ‘good governance’ of the nation.
Note furthermore that I have been participating and contributing in various public fora, including those organized by the Government on national issues and efforts such as that of constitutional and electoral reforms. My patriotic approach is being reflected in the production and circulation of many pertinent articles, some of which can be found on the internet by typing ”articles by JK Roberts (Grenada, Sound Public Policies Advocate)”. Particularly; I have openly written to the Supervisor of Elections for clarification and information, as well as for its performance and verdict on the registration of voters and the conduct of elections subject to the Representation of the People Act deriving from section 35 of the Constitution.
Now; WHEREAS Grenada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations which recognizes the inalienable right of individuals to participate in democratic processes including critically elections, and that every citizen expects that an election will be free and fair and its outcome will be a credible and accurate reflection of the choice of the voters at the election;
AND WHEREAS Her Majesty is the Head of the Commonwealth of Nations and that sections 19 and 20 of the constitution of Grenada provides that there shall be a Governor-General who shall be appointed by Her Majesty and shall hold office during Her Majesty‘s pleasure and who shall be Her Majesty’s representative in Grenada, upon taking and subscribing the oath of allegiance and the oath of office;
AND WHEREAS the executive authority of Grenada is vested in Her Majesty and that there shall be a Parliament of Grenada which shall consist of Her Majesty, a Senate and a House of Representatives, to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Grenada, (sections 57 and 23 and 38 of the Constitution);
AND WHEREAS under section 35 of the said constitution the Governor-General acting in his / her own deliberate judgment shall appoint a Supervisor of Elections whose duty it shall be to exercise general supervision over the registration of voters in elections of the members of the House of Representatives and over the conduct of such elections, and that the Supervisor of Elections may, whenever he considers it necessary or expedient so to do, report to the House of Representatives on the exercise of his functions;
AND WHEREAS over the past many years the voting public and political parties of Grenada have been expressing much controversies and concerns and criticisms over the functioning of the office of the Supervisor of Elections, with the typically intense accusations, adamant demands for external election observer teams and legal challenges by the New National Party;
AND WHEREAS considering the tremendous financial and technical assistance extended to Grenada’s electoral process over the many decades by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of American States (OAS);
AND WHEREAS the election observer missions of both CARICOM and OAS from Grenada’s 2018 election, raised unsatisfactory remarks about the electoral process and submitted critical recommendations for greater efforts to be put in place to achieve meaningful reform and greater efficiencies in the registration of voters to ensure that the Voters List is accurate, reliable and up-to-date, and to strengthen and support confidence in the elections;
AND WHEREAS Grenada has been an interesting subject for professional commentators, academia, political scientists and pertinent debates on evaluating the extent of the exercise of democratic rights, the extent of the abuse of the electoral process including campaigning opportunities, the extent of the credibility and legality of the results of elections, and the extent of parliamentary configurations, operations and soundness;
AND WHEREAS Grenada’s constitutional lawyer, Sir Lawrence Albert Joseph, past Speaker and President of the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively, laments that legitimate concerns of the citizens are often unceremoniously brushed-aside by the office of the Supervisor of Elections and validates that the system which registers voters can be compromised and warns that the democratic process is at stake;
AND WHEREAS properly registered electors are in limbo, confused, frustrated and at a disadvantage, regarding their franchise for voting and for business, as a result of the undue delay in the receiving of the replacements for their expired voter identification cards, after they have yielded to the pertinent explanations, instructions and promises by the office of the Supervisor of Elections in January 2020;
AND WHEREAS it is imperative and indisputable that all democratic and moral endeavours should be done so that Grenada does not again experience the political upheaval and public misery that featured the 1973-1983 period surrounding the Revolution stemming from the strong perception that former Prime Minister Eric Mathew Gairy has been manipulating the electoral process toward dictatorship;
AND WHEREAS considering the ongoing widespread protests, clashes with police, and injuries, imprisonments and deaths in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan as the people decry elections which are perceived to be rigged, as well as considering the root for the presence of military forces during Dominica’s December 2019 election and the arrest of senior electoral officials in Guyana in connections with alleged irregularities in the March 2020 elections;
AND WHEREAS although the office of the Supervisor of Elections is constitutionally independent (“shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”), Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell pronounced that the government of the day can have all the interest it wishes to have in the electoral process;
AND WHEREAS Her Majesty’s loyal Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Mr. Tobias “Toby” Clement, declares the need for reviewing the status quo and the conducting of the nation’s business, within a deserved crusade to save Grenada’s democracy desperately;
AND NOTWITHSTANDING no mention was made in Thorne Speech 2020 of your Government’s intention on the issues of Social Justice and the Rule of Law, to safeguard the democratic rights and freedoms of the citizens during this COVID-19 Emergency and to address electoral reform in its proposed legislative agenda for the ensuing fiscal year;
THEN a strongly justifiable petition is hereby made for a comprehensive forensic investigation into the office of the Supervisor of Elections to bolster compliance with section 35 of the Constitution, to eliminate any chances for fraudulent actions from loopholes and limitations, to bring meaningful closure on the two stolen computerized voter registration systems, to foster integrity and public’s trust in the electoral process, and to ensure greater accountability and efficiency in the capacity of the Office before the holding of any next elections.
Thanks for your considerate and valuable attention; as I can assure you that the central sentiment of this serious submission is also on behalf of the significant majority of Grenadians and would be assented and supported by reputable international democratic institutions.
Please accept my Highest Respects.
J. K. ROBERTS (Mr)
Committee of Social Partners
Grouping of Civil Society Organizations / Inter-Agency Group Of Development Organisations
Organization of American States