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Open letter to Her Excellency Dame Cecile La Grenade

Your Excellency,

We greet you with hearty affections and wish you good health. We hope you may convey to His Majesty the King our congratulations to him on this 1st anniversary of his coronation.

We are writing to you regarding a constitutional question and issue with great impact and consequence for our state, namely the present non-existence of the Constituency Boundaries Commission. Section 55 of the Grenada Constitution establishes a Constituency Boundaries Commission, which is tasked with reviewing the boundaries and number of our nation’s parliamentary constituencies, and submitting recommendations of change for your and parliament’s approval.

The Commission is to consist of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2 members appointed by you on the advice of the Prime Minister, and 2 members appointed by you on the advice of the Leader of His Majesty’s Opposition.

Under Section 56 it is to submit a report on the number and boundaries of parliamentary constituencies to your office at minimum once every 5 years. Under the Constitution’s Schedule 2, “All constituencies shall contain as nearly equal numbers of inhabitants as appears to the Constituency Boundaries Commission to be reasonably practicable”.

We write to Your Excellency to raise the serious issue of the Commission’s non-existence. There appears to have been no Commission constituted for many years, and no reports presented to your office for a very long time. As such, our 15 parliamentary constituencies have been unchanged since before independence in 1974, creating current great imbalance in the number of electors in each constituency.

At the last general election the constituency of Saint George South had an electorate of 11.000. Saint David’s had 10.000. Compared to this, the Town of Saint George had an electorate of less than 3.800, and Saint Mark less than 3.700.

This is a serious issue for our parliamentary democracy as it leaves our parliament horrifically unrepresentative of our population. It means that the vote of an elector in Saint Mark is worth 3 times more than the vote of an elector in Saint George South. This is repugnant to the spirit of our constitution and to the principles of “one man, one vote”, which our ancestors fought so hard to achieve. It cannot be allowed to stand.

Your Excellency, as Governor-General, the representative of His Majesty the King imbued with the constitutional powers, duties and authority of the Crown of Grenada, this is a serious issue upon which you cannot be inactive. You are the guardian of our Constitution, our parliamentary democracy and the principles of Good Governance. We urge you, Your Excellency, to take action to resolve this serious injustice which poisons the very heart of our democracy.

Though the constitution does not give you discretion on whom to appoint to the commission – that is for the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to advise you upon – this does not mean you must or indeed can sit idly by on this matter.

As Governor-General you are entirely within your constitutional powers, authority and indeed duty to summon the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition and demand that they submit to you the names of their nominees to the Constituency Boundaries Commission.

The current vacancy of the Constituency Boundaries Commission is directly unconstitutional. The Constitution states that there shall be such a commission, who shall consist of such persons as prescribed, and yet the commission does not at present exist. As the guardian of the Constitution, it is your duty to do everything in your power to correct this flagrant disregard for our foundational law.

Your Excellency, we plead and encourage you in the strongest possible terms to demand from your Prime Minister and Opposition Leader the names of commission members. Without it our democratic system sits with a major hole at its centre, which allows for the gradual degradation of our parliamentary democracy by undermining the principle of one man one vote.

We at the Grenada Monarchist League hope you will take this appeal to heart, and will utilise the important powers and influence of your office to uphold the principles and letter of our constitution.

We remain ever loyal to His Majesty, the Crown, and to you as the King’s representative in our nation. We are committed to upholding your office as the Guardian of the Constitution and the principle of good and responsible government.

Yours Sincerely and loyally,

The Grenada Monarchist League