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Lawyer challenges the legality of Traffic Wardens

Attorney-at-law Claudette Joseph

An Attorney-at-law is challenging the powers given to Traffic Wardens by the Keith Mitchell-led government to issue tickets to persons who allegedly violate the traffic laws of Grenada.

THE NEW TODAY has obtained the copy of a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court Registry by former Attorney General, Jimmy Bristol on behalf of his client, female barrister-at-law, Claudette Joseph who is challenging a ticket slapped on her by a Traffic Warden on September 29.

The Constitutional Motion was served Wednesday on Guyana-born Attorney General Darshan Ramdhani by the law firm of Henry, Henry & Bristol.

According to the motion, Joseph who is the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is seeking to get the high court to rule that the appointment of Traffic Wardens by the Transport Board is null and void and as such unconstitutional.

The female attorney is also seeking before the high court the following:-

The Claimant, Claudette Joseph, Mt. Parnassus in the parish of St. George in Grenada, applies to the Court for the following relief:

  1. A declaration that a traffic warden, in carrying out his/her duties, is performing the functions of a police officer under Section 23(1)(e) of the Police Act namely, “controlling traffic upon public roads and removing obstructions therefrom”.
  2. A declaration that a traffic warden is a Public Officer within the meaning of Section 111 of the Constitution.
  3. A declaration that the appointment of a traffic warden by the Grenada Transport Board is null and void in that the said Board is not a legal entity and does not have the legal capacity to contract.
  4. A declaration that the appointment of a traffic warden by the Grenada Transport Board is ultra vires Section 84 of the Constitution, null and void.
  5. Alternatively, a declaration that the appointment of a traffic warden by the Grenada Transport Board is ultra vires Section 89 of the Constitution, null and void.
  6. A declaration that a Fixed Penalty Notice, issued by a traffic warden, is null and void and of no effect.

In her affidavit Joseph states the following:

  1. Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act Cap 289A of the 2010 Revised Laws (“the RTA”) established the Grenada Transport Board (‘the Board’).
  2. The Board is not a statutory corporation nor a legal entity.
  3. The Board’s function is to advise the Minister on all matters relating to road transport and traffic.
  4. On the 29′” September, 2017, the RTA was amended by the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 21 of 2017 (‘the RTAA 2017”) which introduced a new Section 30A to the RTA.
  5. On the 14° December, 2018, the RTA was amended by the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 16 of 2018 (“the RTAA 2018”).
  6. Section 3 of the RTAA 2018 introduced a new Section 4A of the RTA and which empowered the Board, with the approval of the Minister, to employ such staff as is considered necessary for the efficient performance of its functions.
  7. Section 3 of the RTAA 2018 introduced a new Section 4B of the RTA which provides that the funds of the Board shall consist of money appropriated by Parliament for the purpose of running the Board and also any other funds lawfully accruing to the Board.
  8. Section 4 of the RTAA 2018 introduced a new Section 3B(1) of the RTA which empowers the Board, with the approval of the Minister and on the recommendation of the Commissioner of Police, to appoint traffic wardens for the “purpose of controlling and regulating traffic in accordance with the RTA”.
  9. Section 4 of the RTAA 2018 introduced a new Section 3B(3) of the RTA which specifies that the uniform to be worn bytraffic wardens shall include, inter alia, a cap with the words “RGPF Traffic Warden’, a blue bib with the words “Royal Grenada Police Force’, “Ministry of Transportation”, “Traffic Warden’.
  10. Section 4 of the RTAA 2018 introduced a new Section 3B(4) of the RTA which provides that the Board shall pay to traffic wardensa salary at a rate as determined by the Minister.
  11. Sections 5 to 14 of the RTAA 2018 gave traffic wardens similar powers to police officers in respect of traffic matters and, in particular, the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices under Section 98 of the RTA.
  12. A traffic warden is not a recognized rank within the Royal Grenada Police Force as set out in Section 4 of the Police Act Cap 244.
  13. On the 29″ September, 2020, a traffic warden issued and served a Fixed Penalty Notice (“the FPN”) on me. There is no produced and shown to me and exhibited hereto and marked “CJ1” a true copy of the Fixed Penalty Notice.
  14. In the circumstances, | verily believe that the traffic warden acted without lawful authority in issuing the said Fixed Penalty Notice, in that he was not lawfully appointed to the Public Service as provided for in Chapter VI of the Constitution nor, in any event lawfully employed by the Grenada Transport Board, and | am asking this Honourable Court to grant the reliefs prayed for.
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