- In the June elections, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) defeated the New National Party (NNP). Dickon Mitchell of the NDC succeeded Keith Mitchell of the NNP as prime minister.
- In late October, the NDC government accused its predecessor of accepting funds for the issuance of a diplomatic passport and diverting some of those funds to a party-linked constituency account just before the June elections. In November, a former minister in the NNP government admitted that it accepted funds for passports as a policy but denied wrongdoing on its part.
|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. Following the June 2022 elections, NDC leader Dickon Mitchell was sworn in as prime minister.
The prime minister is appointed by the governor general, who represents the British monarch as head of state. Cécile La Grenade became 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 NDC won the June 2022 elections, winning 9 of lower house’s 15 seats and defeating the NNP government. Organization of American States (OAS) observers 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.
The unbalanced size of constituencies has resulted in unequal voting power among citizens. Grenada has not updated their boundaries since gaining independence in 1974.
|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. 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 democracy was restored to Grenada in 1984. 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 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, with women winning only 5 of the lower house’s 15 seats in the June 2022 polls. OAS observers reporting on those polls noted that “a high level of violence against women, fear of victimization, societal backlash for entering politics, and unpaid care-work” inhibit female participation. Women’s advocacy groups do exert political influence, however.
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.
|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 a 2016 constitutional reform package would have strengthened anticorruption safeguards, but all were voted down by significant margins.
Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment 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.
Since taking power, the NDC government accused the former NNP government of corruption. In September 2022, Tevin Andrew, the minister for Carriacou and Petite Martinique affairs, said that his ministry had been seriously affected by corruption. In late October, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell alleged that the former NNP government accepted funds in return for a diplomatic passport and diverted some of that money into an NNP-linked constituency account days before the June polls. In November, former foreign minister Oliver Joseph disclosed that the NNP government accepted funds for diplomatic passports as a policy, but denied wrongdoing on the former government’s part.
Other government bodies and civil society groups faced scrutiny over their conduct in 2022. In September, the Integrity Commission reported significant failings at the state-owned Marketing and National Importing Board (MNIB) and called for a forensic audit. The Integrity Commission had launched its investigation after a former MNIB chief executive was accused of misusing funds. Also in September, the NDC government launched an investigation into the FAITH Organization for People’s Development, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) with ties to the NNP, after documents revealed that the NGO had received considerably more government funding than other groups.
|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 it from fulfilling its role.
There is no law to ensure public access to information.
|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, which is partly owned by the government.
|Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private?||4.004 4.004|
Freedom of religion is constitutionally protected and 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. Multiple COVID-19-related states of emergency limited social gatherings in 2020 and 2021, though coronavirus-related restrictions were largely lifted by the end of 2021. The state of emergency was lifted in April 2022.
|Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work?||4.004 4.004|
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 and courts commonly demonstrate their independence. There has not been tangible evidence of political interference in the judiciary in recent years. However, there are concerns that the judiciary is not properly resourced, thus impacting its efficacy.
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. As of October 2022, the prison occupancy rate was 191.4 percent of official capacity, very high by regional standards. While Grenada is 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 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, including threats of violence and public hostility.
The law does not prohibit discrimination in employment or occupation regarding sexual orientation, HIV-positive status, or gender identity.
In a letter published by the New Today news outlet in April 2022, a female Royal Grenada Police Force officer claimed that sexual harassment and abuse was pervasive within the force, and that high-ranking officers had engaged in such behavior.
|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.
|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 2021, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes 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 as of the end of 2022.
|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 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 2019. Children are not explicitly prohibited from doing hazardous work.
A 2015 law punishes human trafficking with up to 25 years’ imprisonment and large fines. However, reports of human trafficking are rare.
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