Thaddeus Antoine is the president of The OECS Bar Association

The OECS BAR Association joins in solidarity with the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) on their protest action to highlight the several challenges facing the legal profession and the continuing failure of the Government to adequately address the situation.

In particular, the GBA is complaining about the slow pace of efforts to obtain proper accommodation for the four (4) High Courts since the closure of the main court complex (which housed the four (4) courts) in May 2018 as a result of certain environmental challenges.

Government has been unable to meet the December 31st, 2018 deadline set several months ago by the GBA, for obtaining adequate alternative accommodation.

In a recent press release, the GBA points to “a crisis in the entire judicial system which threatens public confidence in this system, public order, good governance and the economic and social life of this country”.

Members of the GBA gathered in the car park of the Supreme Court Registry at Church Street at 9am on Monday (Jan 7th) where President Lisa Taylor and other members highlighted to the media several of the challenges within the Justice System including the growing backlog of civil and criminal cases, the continuing deterioration of records in the Deeds and Lands Registry, the understaffing of the Transcription Unit of the Court, and the low priority being given by Government to fixing the problems within the Justice System.

The OECS Bar has repeatedly highlighted the central importance of the Rule of Law in buttressing any democratic society. It goes without saying that, when the Courts are closed, and litigants and accused persons are not able to have their day in court, or their issues resolved in a timely manner, our democracy is undermined.

The OECS Bar calls on the Government of Grenada to urgently address the many challenges of the Justice System, provide adequate resources to arrest the growing backlog of cases in the High Courts, and create the kind of environment which allows the wheels of justice to grind efficiently and effectively for the entire citizenry. We take this opportunity, once again, to urge OECS governments to give priority to the construction of modern Halls of Justice in the respective territories.