On 12th July 2019, Justice Godfrey Smith ruled on the constitutionality of the Section 21(4) of the Crown Proceedings Act and CPR Parts 50.2(3) and 59.7, which pertain to citizens enforcing money judgments against the Government. The Learned Judge ruled that the aforementioned provisions were in fact unconstitutional as it stifled the fair trial rights of individuals and in essence, put the Government on a pedestal by not requiring it to settle money judgments against the Crown.
What this means going forward
When an individual receives judgment against the Government, the Government is no longer at liberty to simply state that it has limited or insufficient funds to designate to paying debts, its assets can be seized to collect on the judgment.
The public interest argument consistently advanced is that the Government must be permitted to tighten its purse strings or close its purse completely in order to avoid money judgments from incapacitating the Government’s ability to function. However, the functionality of the Government must always be balanced with the Constitutional rights of the people and this can be done through the implementation of proper framework as is the case in Canada, India and South Africa.
This is landmark decision is not only groundbreaking for Grenada but highly persuasive for the entire OECS and CARICOM, this ruling makes the powerful statement that the Government of Grenada is no longer above the law when it comes to the satisfaction of ordinary debts and must now pay when ordered to do so.