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Title: Grenada Human Rights Practices, 1995
Author:  U.S. Department of State
Date:  March 1996




                                GRENADA


Grenada is a parliamentary democracy, with a Governor General as titular 
Head of State.  In June parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Dr. 
Keith Mitchell's New National Party (NNP) won 8 of 15 seats and formed a 
majority government.  The elections were openly and fairly contested, 
and were free of violence.

The 750-member Royal Grenada Police Force is responsible for maintaining 
law and order.  It is controlled by and responsive to civilian 
authorities.

Grenada has a free market economy based upon agriculture and tourism.  
The real economic growth rate was about 2.3 percent for 1994, and the 
estimated annual growth for 1995 was 3 percent.

Citizens enjoy a wide range of civil and political rights.  Human rights 
problems included allegations of police brutality in the course of 
criminal investigations, but there were no documented cases.  The 
Commissioner of Police has spoken out strongly against police use of 
unlawful force.  Violence against women is common.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from:

  a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political or other extrajudicial killings.

  b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

  c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment

The Constitution prohibits such practices, and there were no reported 
incidents of torture.  Flogging, a legal form of punishment, is rare but 
has been used recently in sex crime and theft cases.

The press occasionally reported claims of police brutality, some of 
which arose following the complainants' alleged attempts to resist 
arrest.  The Police Commissioner supervised officers investigating a few 
complaints, but did not release any results.  No one brought a case of 
police brutality before the courts in 1995.  The Police Commissioner can 
discipline officers in valid cases of brutality with penalties which may 
include dismissal from the force.  The Police Commissioner has spoken 
out strongly against police use of unlawful force.

Prison conditions meet minimum international standards and the 
Government permits visits by human rights monitors.

  d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The law provides the police with the right to detain persons on 
suspicion without a warrant, but they must bring formal charges within 
48 hours.  The police adhered to this time limit in practice.  If the 
police do not charge a detainee within 48 hours, they must release the 
person.

The law provides for a judicial determination of the legality of 
detention within 15 days after arrest on a criminal charge.  The police 
must formally arraign or release a detained person within 60 days, and 
the authorities generally followed these procedures.  There is a 
functioning system of bail, although persons charged with capital 
offenses are not eligible.  Persons charged with treason may be accorded 
bail only upon recommendation of the Governor General.

Exile is not practiced.

  e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary, a part of the Eastern Caribbean legal system, is highly 
regarded and independent.  Final appeal may be made to the Privy Council 
in the United Kingdom.  There are no military or political courts.  
Those arrested on criminal charges are brought before the independent 
judiciary.  Following a determination by a judicial hearing that there 
is sufficient evidence to substantiate a criminal charge, the judge 
remands the defendant for trial.

The law provides for the right to a fair public trial, and the 
authorities observe it in practice.  There is a presumption of 
innocence, and the law protects persons against self-incrimination and 
requires the police to explain a person's rights upon arrest.  The 
accused has the right to remain silent and to seek the advice of legal 
counsel.  The defense lawyer has the right to be present during 
interrogation and may advise the accused how to respond or not to 
respond to questions.  The accused has the right to confront his 
accuser.

The court appoints attorneys for indigents only in cases of murder or 
other capital crimes.  In other criminal cases that reach the appellate 
stage, the court will similarly appoint a lawyer to represent the 
accused if he was not previously represented or reappoint the 
defendant's earlier counsel if the appellant can no longer afford the 
lawyer's services.  Due to the backlog of cases caused by a shortage of 
judges and facilities, up to 6 months can pass before those charged with 
serious offenses face trial in the high court.  With the exception of 
murder and foreign-born drug suspects, the courts grant most defendants 
bail while awaiting trial.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

  f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence

The Constitution provides for protection from these abuses, and there 
were no reports of such actions.  The law generally requires judicially 
issued warrants for searching homes, except in cases of hot pursuit.  
The Firearms Act of 1968 and the Drug Abuse Prevention Act Number 7 of 
1992 contain other exceptions which give the police and security units 
legal authority to search persons and property without warrants in 
certain circumstances.  In practice, police obtain warrants in the 
majority of cases before conducting any search.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

  a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the 
Government does not restrict these rights.  There are four weekly 
newspapers and several newspapers which publish irregularly.  One of the 
weeklies is affiliated with an opposition political party, but the three 
most widely circulated newspapers are independent and often are critical 
of the Government.  The newspapers frequently carry press releases by 
the opposition parties, one of which regularly provides a weekly column 
expressing the opposition party's views.

Grenada has four radio stations.  The main station is part of the 
Grenadian Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), a statutory body not under 
direct government control.  Grenada's main television station is also 
part of the GBC.  A privately owned television station began 
broadcasting in 1992, when a cable company began operating in the 
capital area with plans to expand eventually throughout the country.  
Throughout 1995 the television news often carried reports on opposition 
activities, including coverage of the political rallies of the various 
political parties and candidates, public forums featuring political 
leaders of each of the major parties, and other public service 
broadcasts.  Election results were broadcast live on both television 
stations and three of the four radio stations (the fourth concentrates 
on religious broadcasting).

  b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for the right to assemble for any peaceful 
purpose.  Supporters of political parties meet frequently and hold 
public rallies; permits are required for the use of a public address 
system but not for public meetings themselves.

  c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government 
respects this right in practice.

  d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides for freedom of movement within the country, 
and all citizens have the right to enter and leave the country, except 
in special circumstances as outlined in and limited by the 1986 Act to 
Restrict the Freedom of Movement of Certain Persons.  This law allows 
the Minister for National Security to restrict travel out of Grenada by 
any person whose aims, tendencies, or objectives include the overthrow 
of the democratic and parliamentary system of government; it has not 
been invoked in the past few years.  Anyone so restricted may appeal 
after 3 months to an independent and impartial tribunal.  The Chief 
Justice appoints an accredited lawyer to preside over such a tribunal.

No formal government policy toward refugee or asylum requests exists.  
There were no reports of forced expulsion of anyone having a valid claim 
to refugee status; however, government practice remains undefined.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government

The Constitution provides citizens with the right to change their 
government peacefully and citizens exercise this right in practice 
through periodic, free and fair elections held on the basis of universal 
suffrage.  The next parliamentary elections must be held by October 
2000.

There are no restrictions in law or practice on participation by women 
in government and politics.  Three of the 15 elected members of 
Parliament are women, as well as 1 of the 13 appointed senators (who 
also serves as Deputy President of the Senate).  Women account for 7 of 
the 12 permanent secretaries, the highest civil service position in each 
ministry; in addition, a woman is the Cabinet Secretary, the highest 
civil service position in the Government.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Local human rights groups operate without government restriction, and 
the Government cooperates with visits from international human rights 
organizations.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based upon race, place of 
origin, political opinions, color, creed, or sex, and the Government 
generally adheres to these provisions.

  Women

Knowledgeable women's rights monitors report that violence against women 
is common and that most cases of spousal abuse go unreported.  The 
police confirm that most cases of alleged abuse are not reported and 
others are settled out of court.  Grenadian law stipulates a sentence of 
15 years imprisonment for a conviction of rape.  Sentences for assault 
against a spouse vary according to the severity of the incident.  There 
is no evidence of official discrimination in health care, employment, or 
education.  Women frequently earn less than men performing the same 
work; such wage differences are less marked for the more highly paid 
jobs.

  Children

The Social Welfare Division within the Ministry of Labour provides 
probationary and rehabilitative services to youths, day care services 
and social work programs to families, assistance to families wishing to 
adopt or foster children, and financial assistance to the three 
children's homes in Grenada run by private organizations.

The Government reported 63 cases of child abuse through September 1995.  
The law provides for harsh penalties against those convicted of child 
abuse and disallows the victim's alleged "consent" as a defense in cases 
of incest.

  People With Disabilities

The law does not protect job seekers with disabilities from 
discrimination in employment, nor does it mandate provision of 
accessibility for public buildings or services.  The National Council 
for the Disabled, which receives a small amount of financial assistance 
from the Government, was instrumental in placing visually impaired 
students into community schools, which in some cases previously were 
reluctant to accept them.  The Council also approached architects to 
assist in construction of ramps at various hotels and public buildings, 
and ramps have already been installed at some hotels.

Section 6  Worker Rights

  a.  The Right of Association

All workers are free to organize independent labor unions.  Labour 
Ministry officials estimate the percentage of the work 

force that is unionized to be between 20 and 25 percent.  Union leaders 
play a significant role in the political process, and one labor leader 
serves in the Senate.

While workers in the private sector are free to strike at will, workers 
in the public sector must give advance notice.  There were several 
incidents of industrial action including strikes in 1995, but all were 
short-lived and settled with the intervention of the Ministry of Labour 
or the Prime Minister.  All unions were free of government control, and 
none received government financial support.  All the major unions in 
Grenada belong to one umbrella labor federation, the Grenada Trades 
Union Council (GTUC), which holds annual conventions and determines some 
policies for member unions.  The GTUC and its unions freely affiliate 
with regional and international trade union groups.

  b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers are free to organize and to participate in collective 
bargaining.  Legislation requires employers to recognize a union that 
represents the majority of workers in a particular business.  The law 
prohibits discrimination by employers against union members and 
organizers.  If a complaint of discrimination arises, mechanisms exist 
to resolve it.  After all avenues for resolving a complaint have been 
exhausted between union representatives and employers, both sides may 
agree to ask for the assistance of the Labour Commissioner.  If the 
Labour Commissioner is unable to find a resolution to the impasse, the 
Minister of Labour may appoint an arbitration tribunal if both parties 
agree to abide by its ruling.  The law requires employers found guilty 
of antiunion discrimination to rehire dismissed employees, but in most 
cases the employee accepts the option of compensation.  There were no 
such cases in 1995.

Unions may organize and bargain anywhere in the country, including in 
export processing zones (EPZ's), which are not exempted from Grenada's 
labor legislation.  However, in 1994 the one unionized firm previously 
operating in an EPZ closed its Grenada-based operations.

  c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution specifically prohibits forced labor, and there were no 
reports of it.

  d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The statutory minimum age for employment of children is 16 years.  
Inspectors from the Ministry of Labour enforce this provision in the 
formal sector by periodic checks.  Enforcement efforts in the informal 
sector are lax.

  e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Legislation sets minimum daily wage rates for the agricultural, 
industrial, and commercial sectors.  Most recently revised in 1994, 
minimum wages for farm laborers are $5.73 (EC$15.48) per day for men, 
and $5.33 (EC$14.40) for women.  Most workers, including nonunionized 
ones, receive other benefits from their employers through the collective 
bargaining agreements reached with that firm's unionized workers.  Even 
when these benefits are added to wages from a full-time minimum wage 
job, it is insufficient to provide a decent standard of living.

The law does not prescribe a set number of hours as the standard 
workweek, except for the public sector which is expected to work a 40-
hour week Monday through Friday.  The normal workweek in all sectors 
seldom exceeds 40 hours, although in the commercial sector this includes 
Saturday morning work.

The Government sets health and safety standards, but they are minimal, 
and the authorities do not effectively enforce them.  Workers can remove 
themselves from dangerous workplace situations without jeopardy to 
continued employment.

(###)

[end of document]

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