It is rather unfortunate that GRENADA TODAY would have to take this particular course of action in a court matter involving its editor, George Worme and the Prime Minister of this country, Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell.
The population would recall that our editor was arrested and charged nearly seven years ago by the police for criminal libel against the Prime Minister over a letter someone had written and published in the GRENADA TODAY newspaper about the conduct of the 1999 general elections.
The matter is still at the Preliminary Inquiry stage before Chief Magistrate Patricia Mark.
A certain preliminary point of a constitutional nature in the case was sent to the Privy Council in London for adjudication with a ruling in favour of the State and the Law Lords sent back the case to Grenada for resumption.
There was a long delay in resumption of the case due to the advent of Hurricane Ivan which devastated the island in September 2004 and severely disrupted court matters at all levels.
The situation with our courts is virtually back to a state of normalcy.
And the criminal libel case against our editor has come up on several occasions before the Chief Magistrate for a resumption of the Preliminary Inquiry.
There have been several adjournments of this particular matter either at the request of the defense or mainly on the part of the Prosecution.
What is noticeable is that the virtual complainant, Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell has never showed up either inside or outside of the court room for any of the hearings since the passage of Ivan.
On one occasion, the defence requested of the Chief Magistrate that a bench warrant be issued to get the Prime Minister to attend the court proceedings since he is the virtual complaint in the matter before her court. It was never granted.
However, a bench warrant was issued by the Chief Magistrate on an occasion when Mr. Worme did not attend court despite the continued non-appearance of the Prime Minister.
GRENADA TODAY is strongly of the view that no man is above the law..... neither the editor of the newspaper nor Dr. Keith Claudius Mitchell.
The rule of law mandates that all persons irrespective of office must act in obedience to the laws of the land.
The law is no respecter of persons and therefore the conduct of the Prime Minister is clearly aimed at eroding the rule of law which is the most critical principles upon which our democracy has to be sustained.
The constitution of Grenada is the Supreme law of the land and the conduct of Dr. Mitchell in not attending the court proceedings tantamount to an abrogation of the constitutional rights of a citizen of this homeland.
Mr Worme was clearly brought to the bar of justice by the Commissioner of Police based on a complaint made by the Prime Minister himself.
Section 8 of the Grenada Constitution makes provisions for Mr. Worme to have a fair hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Does the conduct of Dr. Mitchell amounts to one of denying our editor his right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time as provided for by the constitution?
Is the continued delay in the criminal libel case against our editor due to the persistent absence of the Prime Minister and his prosector, Mr. Hugh Wildman of Jamaica infringing on Mr. Worme's constitutional rights as guaranteed by the Constitution?
There are many instances in which a court would act and act swiftly and decisively if complainants bring matters before it and consistently fail to show respect for the rule of law.
What would be the response of the Chief Magistrate if Mr. Worme follows in the footsteps of the Prime Minister and fails to show up in court on the next date set for hearing - February 25?
Why is Dr. Mitchell not coming to court? Is he afraid of his own shadow? There is no Eric Resteiner, Charles Howland, Timothy Bass, David Marchant, Viktor Kozeny or Michael Creft to provide uncomfortable information about financial dealings before the Chief Magistrate.
This utter contempt of our court by Keith Claudius Mitchell is not unusual.
The former Foreign Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dr. Raphael Fletcher told the Nation about the nasty grunts that came from the current holder of the Office of Prime Minister at Cabinet meetings whenever the State lost a case before our Acting Chief Justice, Brian Alleyne.
How long will it continue?