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How far must Grenada Monarchist league go about Oath of Allegiance?

Grenada’s 07 February 1974 Independence Constitution ‘stipulates and commits’ all leading national representatives and executives such as the Governor General, Members of Parliament, Government Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Supervisor of Elections, and members of the Public Service Commission to ‘take and subscribe the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office before entering, or in order to enter, upon the duties of his or her office’.

For ‘emphasis and importance’, the Constitution under section 111 defines and interprets those oaths to include occasions of affirmation or declaration, with the “oath of allegiance” means loyalty to the Monarchy by swearing to ‘faithfully bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, according to law, by the help of God’, and with the “oath of office” means integrity for the due execution of duties by swearing to ‘faithfully execute the office without fear or favour, affection or ill will and that in the execution of the functions of that office will honour, uphold and preserve the Constitution of Grenada, by the help of God’.

Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September 2022 and her son Prince Charles immediately ascended the throne to become the new monarch, and was crowned as King Charles III on 06 May 2023 in the British line.

The Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office are further established and treated for observance within the provisions of the Oaths Act (CAP. 217), as the Constitution advises “according to law”.

This law (CAP. 217) is “an Act relating to promissory and other oaths and prescribing the mode in which such oaths may be administered”, and both of the constitutional oaths are amongst the ‘Forms of oath’ contains in the Act which also caters for Senior Public Officers and includes a Judicial Oath swearing to serve the Majesty with ‘loyalty and reverence’ and to serve the general public with ‘integrity and rightfulness’.

Whilst the Oaths Act elaborates on the ‘imperativeness and seriousness’ of those Oaths as ‘prerequisite and fitness’ for duties, it is void of any indication (directly and indirectly) of penalty and/or of accountability for deviations from or for violations of the objective for the Oaths by the oath-takers.

Thus, many individuals without having ‘any consciousness or any inclination for scrupulous and patriotic conduct’, gravitate to and get positions of Public Trust especially in the political arena, knowing fully that there is no ‘fruitful’ mechanism for accountability, despite the existence of legislations such as the Integrity In Public Life Act.

The issue of Grenada continuing to have a monarchical system of government typifying Her/His Majesty of the Royal Family of Great Britain as the Head, comes for condemnations and questionings, and has been one of the pointed areas identified for constitutional reforms.

Thus for example; the Grenada Barnacle carries in its February 2011 edition the caption “Clean Break – Time To Banish The Monarchy – Dr. Francis Alexis wants Constitutional Reforms in Grenada”.

From a wide-ranging interview held as Grenada celebrates its 37th anniversary of Political Independence, the monthly newspaper reports constitutional lawyer Dr. Alexis, QC, as saying: “We (‘Grenada and other Caribbean nations’) need to get away from the British Monarch and have our own Head of State. When you have your Head of State not only in a foreign land but also in a land with which, historically, you have had colonial and imperial links, you are saying to your own self, never mind you become independent, you still need to hold on to the same British manners and practices from which you said you’ve emerged as an independent nation. That is a contradiction in terms which just simply can’t be defended at all”.

Abolition of this ‘monarchial relationship’ of Great Britain with its former colonies through the instrument of the Governor General and which exists merely as ‘titular and ceremonial and symbolic’, forms the basis and impetus for realising Republicanism, Reparations, and Regionalism with indigenous creations as the Caribbean Court of Justice.

The desire, aspects and recommendation for changing the Oath of Allegiance were put to the Grenadian people through a process, coordinated by an Alexis-led committee, towards a constitutional referendum on 24 November 2016.

The promoted change to the Oath was however rejected by the voters, with the issue being ‘clouded and cluttered’ within a complicated Amendment Bill primarily for replacing the Privy Council of the United Kingdom with the Caribbean Court of Justice, as Grenada’s final appellate court.

Alexis then decides to seize the opportunity during the nation’s Golden Jubilee to pilot “Constitution Reform For Grenada At Fifty” by having the Oath Of Allegiance “no longer to the British Monarch but instead to our own Grenada” as of 07 February 2024.

Whilst Alexis’ proposal for the change to the Oath attracts radicals such as attorneys Jerry Edwin and Arley Gill, with great excitement and encouragement, it encounters deep disgust by presumably certain sections of the powers-that-be, with the launch on 07 February 2024 of the Grenada Monarchist League which scolds Alexis and the Others in a ‘stunning and forceful’ published article “Misinformation about our Head of State and Oath of Allegiance must stop”.

In accusing and condemning the proponents about the grounds for changing the Oath of Allegiance and thereby their disservice to the public in understanding the nation’s constitutional system, the Grenada Monarchist League writes inter alia; “Our representatives do not swear allegiance to the British monarch. This is a fact that must not be obfuscated or that can be debated, and surely a learned lawyer such as Dr Alexis or an MP (‘Member of Parliament such as Attorney Peter David’) should be aware of that. Our representatives swear an oath of allegiance not to the British monarch, but to the Grenadian monarch. The oath is sworn to the King of Grenada, who is our head of state. …. Our head of state is the King of Grenada, not the King of the United Kingdom. This is a constitutional fact, again one surely as attorneys such as Hon. David, and certainly Dr Alexis, should know.

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The status of the Crown as divisible between the realms has been a fact since 1931, hardly a new invention which they might have missed. …. The King of the United Kingdom has no power in Grenada, and may take no actions in regard to our country. As such, we are already fully and wholly independent and have already cut ties to the British monarchy. We did so on 7. February 1974, replacing it with our own indigenous Grenadian monarchy. Our own Nutmeg Crown”.

How ‘clear, substantial, applicable and favourable’ is the ‘technical’ presentation of the League about the status of King Charles III to Grenada; could the study be challenged for resolution on the Issue?

‘Unfortunately and disappointingly’, there has not been any statement from any of the company of Dr. Alexis, as to why the government of Dickon Mitchell’s National Democratic Congress did not consent to the proposal for the change to the Oath of Allegiance, and as to mounting a contest to the accusation and condemnation levelled by the Grenada Monarchist League.

Have Alexis and the like-minded others on the Issue, reckon that the League poses a ‘powerful and formidable’ opposing force with the capacity to unfold the pertinent circumstances and any conspiracies?

Have Alexis and Others concede as ‘correct and factual’ the position and message of the League? Have Alexis and his associates decided not to put-up further arguments, but to leave the League in its ‘ignorance and mentality’?

Despite Alexis and other activists for Grenada to undertake a new sovereign path, may have been offended by the Government’s failure to reference constitutional reforms in the Independence Day messages of the Prime Minister and the Governor-General, and by the League choosing to remain as a mysterious entity, heightened engagements with the Grenadian people on the fundamentals of the Constitution would bring about the required public education for reforms, draw more attention and parties with various concerns about the Constitution and reforms, and add richness to the pertinent debates, within the ‘hallmark’ of Mr. Ruggles Ferguson KC; and thus the prior articles “Stage Set For Alexis To Revitalize Open University On Grenada Constitution” and Monarchist League Boosts Open University On Grenada Constitution, But!”

Considering that the Grenada Monarchist League swears, and seems to be very adamant, willing and prepared, to go to great lengths ‘to preserving, defending and advocating for Grenada’s constitutional monarchy, and to oppose any and all moves towards constitutional changes to establish a republic in Grenada’; and considering that the League acknowledges and appreciates ‘the King of Grenada embodies the Grenadian state and is Grenada’s highest constitutional and ceremonial representative, forming the bedrock of its parliamentary democracy and the rule of law’; and considering that the League seemingly enjoys a promising institutional relationship with the Government, which would afford the realization of its proposals such as for ‘a unique title and independent character of the Grenadian monarchy, and a Privy Council (Establishment) Bill to establish a Grenadian Privy Council as an advisory body to the King and the Governor-General’; then the Grenada Monarchist League (“the League”) should be equally ‘enthused and equipped and expressing’ to be a stalwart custodian for good governance and accountable parliament as ascribed in the Independence Constitution.

Anything short of this reasonable expectation in the national interest, would prove the stance of the League about the Oath of Allegiance meaningless.

It cannot be overstated about the holistic approach which the Grenada Monarchist League needs to display in its Assumed Mission, for it to be of ‘importance, integrity and credibility’.

As the League unreservedly ‘believes the monarchy is the system of government best suited for Grenada, guaranteeing Grenada’s constitution, democratic institutions and future development’, and pledges ‘to do everything in its power to preserve the Oath of Allegiance, in order to uphold the Grenada Constitution, history, and rule of law’; shouldn’t the League be concerned also about the ‘non-functioning or non-existent’ of constitutional establishments such as the Constituency Boundaries Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, as well as the Council for Carriacou and Petite Martinique as a principal organ of Local Government?

Moreover; the League should realise the worthiness to probe or monitor the ‘authenticity and appropriateness’ of the Government’s legislative policies, and to ensure that Government Ministers are compliant in receiving reports of various statutory agencies and official personnel, for laying in Parliament in a ‘timely and efficient’ manner, for accountability and transparency.

Would the Grenada Monarchist League be also occupied with the elevation of the status and recognition of Grenada in the Commonwealth of Nations, and thus for Grenada to secure more gains from the ‘affluent and prestigious’ members of this community?

Would the League make and pursue the case, or a project, for His Majesty King Charles, The Third to fund the cost of the local office of Governor-General?

Has the Grenada Monarchist League sought to ascertain whether or not the Grenada Parliament was ‘desecrated and disrespected’ with the manner by which the President of Ghana was accommodated at the Special Joint Sitting of both Houses of Parliament on 06 February 2024, on the occasion of the celebration of the nation’s Golden Jubilee?

How useful would it be for the League to condemn parliamentary practices which do not reflect the ‘spirit and substance’ of the provisions in the Constitution and its pertinent instruments such as the Standing Orders, and to advocate that those sovereign rules be kept?

Relevantly indeed; how far must Grenada Monarchist League intend to go, and can go, regarding its declared ‘strong stance’ on the issue of the Oath of Allegiance, and as per the circulated article “The Context And Sense Of Pledging allegiance To Grenada” which also decries the ‘downplaying and degrading’ of the National Anthem, National Pledge and National Motto by the powers-that-be?

J.K. Roberts