PR Political Rights 37 40
CL Civil Liberties 52 60
Last Year's Score & Status
89 100 Free
Global freedom statuses are calculated on a weighted scale. See the methodology.

header1 Overview

Grenada is a parliamentary democracy that regularly holds credible elections. Ongoing concerns include corruption, discrimination against LGBT+ people, and violence against women and children.

header2 Key Developments in 2020

  • According to researchers at the University of Oxford, Grenada recorded 127 COVID-19 cases and no deaths as of the end of 2020. The virus inflicted considerable economic damage, with gross domestic product declining an estimated 13.5 percent during the year.
  • In July, the governing New National Party (NNP) retracted the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Control Bill following criticism that that it would create an indefinite state of emergency and increase the potential for arbitrary state action.

PR Political Rights

A Electoral Process

A1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? 4.004 4.004

The prime minister, usually the leader of the largest party in Parliament, is head of government. The prime minister is appointed by the governor general, who represents the British monarch as head of state.

Following the March 2018 elections, New National Party (NNP) leader Keith Mitchell was sworn in for a second consecutive term as prime minister. Cécile La Grenade was sworn in as Grenada’s first woman to be governor general in 2013.

A2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? 4.004 4.004

The bicameral parliament consists of the directly elected, 15-seat House of Representatives, whose members serve five-year terms, and the 13-seat Senate, which is appointed by the governor general. Ten Senate seats are appointed on the advice of the prime minister, and the remaining three on the advice of the opposition leader; senators also serve five-year terms.

The NNP won the elections held in March 2018, capturing all 15 seats in the House of Representatives with 59 percent of the vote. The NDC received 41 percent of the vote. The electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) expressed concern over a lack of campaign finance regulations and other issues, but deemed the polls credible.

A3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies? 3.003 4.004

Electoral laws are generally fair, and they are usually implemented impartially by the supervisor of elections, who heads the Parliamentary Elections Office.

In Grenada’s 2016 constitutional referendum, all proposals failed to pass—including setting a three-term limit for the prime minister, establishing fixed dates for elections, and reforming the electoral authority and the body that sets constituency boundaries. Voter turnout was low, at just 32 percent.

The unbalanced size of constituencies has resulted in unequal voting power among citizens. For example, in a country of 100,000 people, the largest of Grenada’s 15 constituencies has around 6,000 more registered voters than the smallest. This long-standing discrepancy has not been addressed.

B Political Pluralism and Participation

B1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? 4.004 4.004

Political parties can organize freely. While a number of small parties have competed in elections, the first-past-the-post system encourages two-party politics, and since 1999 only the NNP and NDC have won seats in Parliament. Additionally, weak campaign finance laws potentially create an unfair advantage for certain parties.

B2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections? 4.004 4.004

There are realistic opportunities for opposition parties to increase their support or gain power through elections, and power has rotated on several occasions since the first election in 1984, after democracy was restored to Grenada. However, the NNP has won a majority of the elections since then, and the NDC failed to win any seats in the House of Representatives in both the 2013 and 2018 elections.

B3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the people’s political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means? 4.004 4.004

People are generally able to express their political choices without encountering pressure from outside actors. However, the OAS has expressed concern about a lack of transparency and regulation of campaign finance procedures, which could create avenues for undue influence over candidates and voters by business or other special interest groups.

B4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, racial, religious, gender, LGBT+, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities? 4.004 4.004

Grenada’s constitution guarantees universal suffrage for adult citizens. Political representation largely reflects a population that is over 90 percent of African or mixed descent. However, other ethnic groups have a voice in politics and are represented in Parliament. Women remain underrepresented in politics, though 7 out of 15 seats in the House of Representatives were won by women in 2018. Women’s advocacy groups have influence in the general political sphere. The marginalization of LGBT+ people impacts their ability to engage fully in political and electoral processes.

C Functioning of Government

C1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? 4.004 4.004

The appointed prime minister and cabinet and freely elected representatives are able to determine the policies of the government. However, because of concerns over the lack of an opposition in the House of Representatives, three NDC members were appointed to the Senate after the 2013 and 2018 elections.

C2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective? 3.003 4.004

Corruption remains a prominent issue in Grenada, despite safeguards enshrined in the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Integrity in Public Life Act. Several suggested amendments in the 2016 constitutional reform package would have strengthened anticorruption safeguards, but all were voted down by significant margins.

Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program, which allows foreigners to gain citizenship through an economic investment in the country, continued to trouble some analysts due to the potential for fraud and abuse, despite the tightening of rules governing it in 2017. In April 2019, the government passed reforms to ensure the completion of projects and protect investors. However, that November, Al Jazeera reported that politicians in Grenada had allegedly accepted campaign contributions or future kickbacks off of government contracts from wealthy foreign businesspeople in exchange for diplomatic passports or ambassadorships, all connected to the CBI program. Although the prime minister and the NNP denied the report, the story heightened concern about the CBI program’s susceptibility to corruption.

C3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does the government operate with openness and transparency? 3.003 4.004

The government of Grenada generally operates with transparency. A decree passed in 2013 under the authority of the Integrity in Public Life Act requires all public officials to declare their personal assets. An appointed commission monitors and verifies declarations but does not disclose them publicly except in court. In 2017, Parliament passed an amendment to the Mutual Exchange of Information on Tax Matters Bill, which allows Grenadian authorities to request financial information about its citizens residing abroad in an effort to prevent tax avoidance. In August 2020, the Fiscal Responsibility Oversight Committee, an external body charged with monitoring the state’s fiscal position, noted that the opacity of data involving state-run entities and other financial liabilities impeded it from fulfilling its role.

There is no law to ensure public access to information, even though the government has pledged to introduce such an act.

CL Civil Liberties

D Freedom of Expression and Belief

D1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are there free and independent media? 3.003 4.004

In 2012, Grenada became the first Caribbean country to decriminalize defamation, but seditious libel remains a criminal offense. Politicians have initiated defamation lawsuits against the media, contributing to self-censorship among journalists who may not be able to afford legal costs or resulting fines.

Press freedom advocates have criticized censorship at the country’s largest broadcaster, the Grenada Broadcasting Network (GBN), which is partly owned by the government. In July 2019 the GBN was accused by the NDC of deliberately sabotaging coverage of the party after the screen went blank at the beginning of an NDC news conference, with coverage resuming at the conclusion of the party’s remarks. GBN denied the accusations, and stated that the disruption was due to an electrical outage.

D2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private? 4.004 4.004

Freedom of religion is protected under the constitution and is generally respected in practice.

D3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination? 4.004 4.004

The government generally respects academic freedom.

D4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution? 4.004 4.004

Individuals are free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics.

E Associational and Organizational Rights

E1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom of assembly? 4.004 4.004

Freedom of assembly is constitutionally guaranteed, and that right is generally respected in practice. The widespread criticism of the proposed Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Control Bill, 2020 came in part over concerns that it would indefinitely curtail freedom of assembly, accompanied by objections to the potential for arbitrary arrest and excessive powers granted to the minister of health. The government withdrew the legislation, though social distancing protocols remained in place.

E2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? 4.004 4.004

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are generally free to operate.

E3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations? 3.003 4.004

The right of workers to form and join labor unions is constitutionally protected, though unions and labor activists face some obstacles. Workers have the right to strike, organize, and bargain collectively, though employers are not legally bound to recognize a union if a majority of workers do not join. Essential services workers may strike, but compulsory arbitration can be used to resolve disputes. The list of essential services is extensive and includes services that should not be considered as such according to International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.

In 2020, the NNP faced increasing opposition from farmers to its plans to merge the cooperative associations that manage the important nutmeg and cocoa industries under a plan that would include additional state control and potential market liberalization. The government backed off on plans to assert control of the board of directors of a merged association, and discussions continued throughout the year.

F Rule of Law

F1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there an independent judiciary? 4.004 4.004

An independent judiciary is constitutionally guaranteed. Courts have demonstrated independence in recent years, as evidenced by a 2017 Supreme Court decision that prevented the government from expropriating property owned by the company Rex Resorts. There has not been tangible evidence of political interference in the judiciary in recent years.

Grenada is a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States court system, and is a charter member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, but the judiciary relies on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London as its final court of appeal. In 2016, Parliament approved legislation to eliminate the Privy Council as the final court, but the measure was defeated in the year’s constitutional referendum. A second referendum on the matter failed again in 2018.

F2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters? 3.003 4.004

Detainees and defendants are guaranteed a range of legal rights, including the presumption of innocence and the right to trial without delay, which are mostly respected in practice. However, case backlogs have rendered trial delays common in practice. Additionally, staffing shortages prevent the state from providing legal counsel to some indigent defendants.

F3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies? 3.003 4.004

Grenada is free from war and insurgencies. Flogging remains a punishment for petty crimes, and the prison system is overcrowded. The 2019 occupancy rate was over 230 percent, high by regional standards. Although considered one of the safer Caribbean islands, there has been a rise in reports of sexual assault in recent years.

F4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population? 3.003 4.004

Same-sex sexual activity between men is a criminal offense, although the law is rarely enforced. In October 2020, the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to pursue charges against two men who were engaged in sex in a video that was circulated online, labeling the provision of the criminal code “obsolete.” Nonetheless, LGBT+ people face significant societal discrimination; one of the men in the video said that he had received death threats and experienced hostile treatment from the public.

The law does not prohibit discrimination in employment or occupation regarding sexual orientation, HIV-positive status, or gender identity. The 2016 constitutional referendum included an amendment to protect the equal treatment of people in Grenada, but that amendment was overwhelmingly rejected due to concerns that language in the amendment might lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

G Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

G1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education? 4.004 4.004

Freedom of movement is constitutionally guaranteed, and this right is generally respected in practice.

G2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors? 3.003 4.004

The government of Grenada has actively encouraged both national and foreign investors to operate businesses in the country, but procedures involved in establishing a new business are onerous. In 2017 and 2018 the government attempted to expropriate the Grenadian Hotel from its owners, Rex Resorts, abandoning its claim only after the hotel had been sold to another company. In the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 rankings, Grenada placed 146 out of 190, the lowest ranked English-speaking Caribbean nation.

G3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance? 3.003 4.004

Violence against women and children is a widespread issue in Grenada. According to a 2018 survey released in August 2020, 29 percent of Grenadian women reported experiencing physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence legislation came into effect in 2011, but enforcement has been limited. In 2018, the Royal Grenada Police Force launched the Special Victims Unit to handle cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, as well as a new hotline for reporting sexual abuse.

G4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation? 3.003 4.004

Poverty and unemployment are pervasive and hamper the social mobility of many Grenadians. In 2018, Grenada ratified the ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention, to improve work conditions of domestic workers, who are mainly women. It came into effect in November 2019. Children are not explicitly prohibited from doing hazardous work.

A 2015 law punishes human trafficking with up to 25 years in jail and large fines. However, reports of human trafficking are rare.

On Grenada

See all data, scores & information on this country or territory.

See More
  • Global Freedom Score

    89 100 free