The island’s leading criminal defense attorney-at-law, Anslem Clouden has vowed to write to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to complain about the lack of respect shown to the courts in Grenada by the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George.
Clouden told THE NEW TODAY that he will pen letters to these two international financial bodies in light of the administration’s failure to make payments to small businessman, Dorset Charles who won a judgment against the State just over 20 years ago.
The attorney said that he would be sending out letters to both the IMF and World Bank pointing out under the ruling New National Party (NNP) regime that when monies come into the Treasury to discharge government’s indebtedness to certain creditors that the court system is excluded.
According to Clouden, he plans to inform these two major financial institutions about government’s “lack of respect for the independence of the Judiciary and the erosion of the rule of law by this Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.”
He said that approaches to the IMF and World Bank for intervention was one of the options since “we can’t walk in the Treasury and take the money out”.
He accused Prime Minister Mitchell and his NNP government of seeking to defy the order of the court in the Dorset Charles matter and resorting to using all kinds of means “just to avoid paying a man his due debt”.
“The court is insisting that he (Charles) has to be paid”, said Clouden who referred to rulings in favour of Charles by both the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
The small businessman from Grand Anse is currently owed $EC 3.5 million in compensation after his Worldwide Water Sports business place was bulldozed by the Mitchell’s NNP within months of winning the 1995 general election.
According to Clouden, one of the options that he might also pursue in the matter is to file papers in court to begin Committal proceedings to the Richmond Hill prison against senior civil servant Patricia Clarke who currently holds the post of acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance.
He said that he is not going after Clarke in person but only the holder of the office in keeping with the law which states that whoever is in the position of PS in Finance at the time will be subjected to the rulings of the court on matters of judgments.
“I don’t want to take such a draconian step without first giving her (Clarke) an opportunity so I wrote to her and I pointed out to her the judgment of the court. I haven’t heard from them yet,” he added.
Clouden also said that the law gives him the right to go after the personal property of the PS in Finance.
He spoke to one of the lawyers in the Chambers of the Attorney General contacting him on Monday and promising once again to engage in discussions on the outstanding payment due to the Grand Anse businessman.
The government lawyer, he said, was not forthcoming on a sizeable payment and although he was not against some kind of discussion but it had to be focused on “a chuck of money” for Charles who is in dire need of funds to take care of his medical condition.
Clouden said at this stage of the proceedings, he is not willing to enter into any prolonged negotiations with government on payments to Charles who has been waiting over 20 years since winning the court award.
“I am not going into that. There is serious urgency. This man (Charles) is ill and he needs his money, he needs to start his business. These are trying times and the government owes it to him. Every court has said that the government must pay,” he added.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the Mitchell government has put together a list of names of persons to be paid court judgments but Charles’ name is not included on it.
The small businessman is known to be a political opponent of PM Mitchell and took the side of late Prime Minister H.A Blaize when the current Grenadian leader challenged him in a controversial battle for the political leadership of NNP in 1989.
According to Clouden the evidence points to Grenada now in dire financial straits because PM Mitchell “has mismanaged the country” after nearly 25 years in power.
“He has carelessly squandered a lot of money on useless projects,” he said.
Under the watch of Prime Minister Mitchell, the national debt skyrocketed from EC$373 million in 1995 to around EC$1.7 billon when he lost the 2008 general election.