Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell (FILE)
ST GEORGE’S – Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has voiced concerning about the number of cases before the Court in which the Government has been mandated to pay compensation.
“We have lost a number of cases because we have not put our best foot forward. This cannot be allowed to continue. The ministry must have the appropriate staff to efficiently carry out the duties expected of it. The Ministry of Legal Affairs can in fact make or break this Government,” said Mitchell while addressing staff at that Ministry on Wednesday.
“I recognise that over the years we have lost staff, but I have now given clear instructions for upgrading this ministry, ensuring that we invest appropriately in the right staff complement. It will be penny-wise and pound-foolish if we fail to do what is necessary to improve the functioning of the Ministry of Legal Affairs.”
In the 2019 budget, Mitchell who is also the Minister of Finance disclosed that a portion of funds obtained from the World Bank on concessionary terms will be used to compensate claimants, some of whom have claims that predate the current administration.
“Government cannot shirk its responsibility to compensate persons but when you have to find massive amounts of money to pay for cases that may have gone completely different with better representation, it is a hard pill to swallow,” the Prime Minister said.
A news release from the Government Information Service said that money from the EC $40 million on concessionary terms that will be used to pay claimants could have easily been spent on more important things, but Government will obey the rule of law.
The financial settlement involves private citizens, companies and public officers who took legal action over decisions or actions involving the public service system. Some cases were awaiting settlement for more than ten years.
On the subject of staffing, the Prime Minister said there have been several high-level appointments in the ministry lately to build human capacity.
He also underscored the need for unity as a critical element to seeing real results from the investments being made through the new appointments.
Recent appointments include – an Attorney General, a Solicitor General, an Acting Registrar for the Supreme Court and two Judicial Research Assistants.
“Persons may have a different role, but we are all working towards a common objective. Teamwork is a fundamental necessity and we must be unified in our approach. There must also be a greater discourse on matters that have national implications,” the Prime Minister told the Public Officers. (CMC)