- The credibility of the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program was damaged by two high-profile resignations from the program’s board of directors in February and May. Local media outlets reported that the board members resigned due to the prime minister’s alleged interference with the CBI’s work, including ordering the board to approve applicants outside of standard procedures.
- Throughout the year, teachers and other public sector workers held large demonstrations, calling on the government to uphold a previously reached agreement to provide a salary increase for public sector employees. Though the protests were peaceful, participants were confronted by hundreds of Grenadian security forces in a “massive show of force” that opposition leaders claimed was intended to stifle criticism of the government.
- In June, the results of an investigation into the management of the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC) were published, revealing that the GOC was unable to account for nearly $500,000 in grant funding. The investigation also found other irregularities within the GOC’s finances, including instances of inflated invoicing allegedly issued by the GOC’s general secretary, Veda Bruno-Victor; she remained in her post at year’s end.
|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 governor general in 2013.
|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. 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.
|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.
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.
|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 National Democratic Congress (NDC) have won seats in Parliament. Additionally, weak campaign finance laws potentially create an unfair advantage for certain parties.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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, NDC members were appointed to the Senate after the 2013 and 2018 elections.
|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 CBI Program, which allows foreigners to gain citizenship through an economic investment in the country, continues to trouble some analysts due to the potential for fraud and abuse, despite the tightening of rules governing it in 2017. Concern about the CBI’s susceptibility to corruption was heightened again in 2021, when two CBI board members resigned after accusing the prime minister of interfering in the program’s work, including by ordering the board to approve applicants outside of standard procedures.
Opposition leaders also expressed concern about the confirmation of Justin Sun, a Chinese tech entrepreneur, as Grenada’s permanent ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December, calling for “transparency and accountability” in order to avoid the “mismanagement of national assets.”
In June, an investigative report—ordered after the Grenada Olympic Committee (GOC) was unable to account for nearly $500,000 in funding from the International Olympic Committee (IOC)—was released, leading to renewed questions about the effectiveness of Grenada’s anticorruption safeguards. The investigation, led by the GOC’s finance committee, found that the GOC’s finances contained “massive” irregularities, including fraudulent invoices allegedly issued by the GOC’s general secretary, Veda Bruno-Victor. She remained in her post at year’s end.
|Does the government operate with openness and transparency?||3.003 4.004|
The government of Grenada generally operates with transparency. All public officials are required to declare their assets. An appointed commission monitors and verifies declarations but does not disclose them publicly except in court. Grenadian laws permit authorities to request financial information about its citizens residing abroad in an effort to prevent tax avoidance. The Fiscal Responsibility Oversight Committee has noted that the opacity of data involving state-run entities and other financial liabilities has impeded the committee 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.
|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 lawsuits against the media, contributing to self-censorship among journalists.
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 September 2021, local media outlets reported that the government had ordered the National Lotteries Authority and the Housing Authority of Grenada to cease their advertising with GBN, allegedly in response to GBN’s coverage of carnival activities, which took place in August despite a COVID-19-related ban on such gatherings.
In December 2019, NNP senator Winston Garraway was charged with assault after allegedly physically confronting a female journalist. In May 2021, the prime minister publicly condemned the charges as “frivolous”; Garraway’s trial began the same month after several delays.
|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.
|Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination?||4.004 4.004|
The government generally respects academic freedom.
|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.
|Is there freedom of assembly?||4.004 4.004|
Freedom of assembly is constitutionally guaranteed, and that right is generally respected. However, multiple COVID-19-related states of emergency temporarily limited social gatherings in 2020 and 2021. Though many emergency measures had been lifted by December 2021, including a government-imposed curfew, several restrictions remained in place at year’s end.
Throughout 2021, hundreds of teachers and other public sector workers protested against the government’s failure to comply with a previously agreed salary increase for public sector employees. The protests were met by hundreds of Grenadian security forces in a “massive show of force” that opposition leaders claimed was intended to intimidate protesters and discourage further criticism of the government. Jude Bartholomew, the head of the teachers’ union, also criticized the government’s actions during the protests, saying he feared that Grenada was turning into a “military state.” Bartholomew was briefly detained by police in April for allegedly breaching social distancing protocols during protests.
|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.
|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.
|Is there an independent judiciary?||4.004 4.004|
An independent judiciary is constitutionally guaranteed. Courts have demonstrated independence in recent years. There has not been tangible evidence of political interference in the judiciary in recent years. In June 2021, a High Court judge ruled that the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) could proceed with a case asking for the government to properly fund the court system.
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.
|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.
|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. Prison conditions are poor, and as of August 2021, the occupancy rate was over 184 percent, very 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.
|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.
|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.
The right to change employment is also generally respected. However, since October 2021, the government has prohibited individuals who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 from certain types of employment, including work in restaurants and hotels.
|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 encouraged both national and foreign investors to operate businesses in the country, but procedures involved in establishing a new business are onerous. In July 2021, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) agreed to hear a case brought by a development firm against the Grenadian government. The company, which planned to build a resort, claimed that the government’s arbitrary and unlawful conduct amounted to “indirect expropriation,” and had stopped the successful completion of the project. The proceedings were ongoing at year’s end.
|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.
|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.
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