PM Mitchell’s latest statement gives a remarkable insight into how far he has gone, and is prepared to go, to interfere in the judicial process. In referring to the decision of the High Court to free “forthwith” three members of The Seventeen, the PM, on the night of March 23rd, 2004 (and repeated on March 28th) said, in answer to a caller who accused him of playing games in relation to them that “… if I was playing games that was the right time TO ALLOW the decision to go, AND ALLOW THE REGISTRAR and others to just implement that decision.” His own words should be noted, “ALLOW THE REGISTRAR!” The Registrar of the Supreme Court is a judicial officer, so on what basis was the Prime Minister in a position “ to allow” or not “ to allow” a judicial officer to carry out the orders of the High Court? On what legal basis was the PM able – based on this admission – to not “ALLOW THE REGISTRAR AND OTHERS TO JUST IMPLEMENT THAT DECISION?” This explains why, for eight hours between the time the judgment was delivered and when the State eventually managed to obtain a Stay in very irregular and questionable circumstances, the order of the court was not carried out. The Prime Minister has now confessed to his personal role in this outrageous case of contempt of court and obstruction of justice.

We view this as an extremely serious matter and for that reason, we have made videotapes of the PM’s MTV “performance”, and, along with a written transcript of same, they are being sent to Dr. Kenny Anthony, the CARICOM Prime Minister responsible for Justice and Good Governance, The Bar Associations of all CARICOM members, regional and international media, International Human Rights bodies such as Amnesty International, The Inter American Commission on Human Rights, The United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights, Americas Watch, The International Commission Of Jurists, The European Union, The Commonwealth Secretariat and governments in the region and beyond.

This kind of behavior by the Prime Minister is nothing new. Recently, in an interview in the UK, he told a journalist “they (The Seventeen) would have to beg for their freedom,” at a time when he knew there was a motion before the court, which had the potential of setting thirteen of the Seventeen free. The Prime Minister has stated publicly many times “the question of their freedom is not a matter for any court but for the people of Grenada to decide.” In other words, he has taken it upon himself to decide that the courts have no jurisdiction in matters relating to them! This is a remarkable admission from the highest level, that they are hostages to political expediencies.

We recall his infamous “talking in tongues” speech, when, using the most abusive and inflammable language, he publicly condemned a judge of the Grenada High Court for ordering the release of three members of the Seventeen, since he found that their continued detention was unconstitutional and therefore illegal. In that same outburst, the PM, after castigating this High Court judge, said, “thank god we have the OECS Supreme Court still there, functioning effectively…” Many people formed the impression that, by this statement, the Prime Minister was improperly trying to implicate the OECS Supreme Court in some scheme of impropriety he had in mind.

We condemn in the strongest terms these blatant incidences of interferences by the Prime Minister in the judicial process, especially in matters relating to the Seventeen. We wish to remind the Prime Minister of the oath that he took on being sworn in as Prime minister: to uphold and respect the Constitution. In the meantime, Legal Counsel are looking into the question of having Dr. Mitchell cited for Contempt of Court and charged with the criminal offence of Obstruction of Justice, based on his public admission on MTV on March 23rd, 2004.




Glen St. Louis

Friends & Families Of The Grenada 17



April 19, 2004