The New Today
Local News

Grenadian youth to join anti-coronavirus bill protest action

From left to right are Michelle Alexander, Joel Greenidge and Kassandra Alexander - the persons who are currently mobilising the youth to come out against the bill

A group of Grenadian youths are presently planning action for Monday and Wednesday against the controversial coronavirus bill that the Keith Mitchell- led government is taking to Parliament in the next few days that can affect the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of citizens.

One of the persons involved in the movement is St. Andrew resident Michelle Alexander who was among the organisers behind the protest action in support of Evan Smith who was beaten by a white family at Fort Jeudy just over a month ago.

Two others are Kassandra Alexander of St. George and Joel Greenidge of St. David who this morning put out a video on Facebook in which he ripped into the bill as an affront to the rights of Grenadians.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY on Sunday, Alexander said that the youths who are presently engaged in discussions to form a new movement will present a petition to the Cabinet of Ministers tomorrow (Monday) calling for the bill to be pulled back until consultation is held with Grenadians on its contents.

She stated that the plan is to give each minister a copy of the petition before they go into session “to let them know before they enter for the Cabinet meeting that this is not something that we are willing to accept”.

“We are going there tomorrow to see at least when they meet … that they will at least consider to give it (The Bill) sometime…”, she said.

“This is not something that we are just willing to accept just like that. It cannot be accepted,” she added.

According to Alexander, the youths in Grenada are not totally against all of the contents of the bill as there are some good features but are fearful that some of the clauses are very disconcerting to them and can be described as “ludicrous”.

“We are not against the bill but before you pass a bill there should be some level of consultation and if you look at the bill you will see some of the things they want to implement during the referendum that didn’t pass (are) in the miscellaneous part of it.

Related:  Major security breaches at new prison on Grand Anse beach

“I think and I know that there are a lot of other young persons who think that it is taking away from our rights. Yes, we need to protect ourselves against the coronavirus but that shouldn’t be at the expense of our rights and our freedom”.

Alexander took specific issue with the section of the bill that seeks to give the police full authority to arrest persons who are suspected of having COVID-19.

She said the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is not fully independent because “who so ever is in government the police will support them.”

She said it is good to take steps to protect Grenadians but some aspects of the bill now going to Parliament should be changed since the youth are very suspicious of the contents.

According to Alexander, if the government does not back down and proceeds to Parliament on Wednesday then it can expect to see protest action in the form of picketing outside Mt. Wheldale which is the road leading to the Parliament Building.

She also expressed concerns over a statement made by Prime Minister Mitchell last week that the bill will remain in place until a vaccine becomes available to protect people against the deadly virus.

In addition, she said that the government itself has not engaged Grenadians on the vaccine programme whenever one become available.

A group of Grenadian lawyers are also planning to stage protest action on Wednesday at the entrance to Mt. Wheldale to send a message to lawmakers about the controversial bill.

THE NEW TODAY has seen a posting on social media which calls on Grenadians to protest against the bill.

It reads: “Join the resistance against the Covid-19 Control Bill. The picketing of the Parliament begins at 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday, come with your placards. Enough is enough.”