Defense lawyer Anselm Clouden said he is prepared to have the Permanent Secretary and Minister in the Ministry of Finance committed to prison in his bid to recover monies owed to his client by the State of Grenada for the past twenty years in continued defiance of judgments handed down by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
Addressing members of the media during a press briefing at his law firm on Tuesday, Clouden said based on the recent ruling on the Court of Appeal, 20th June 2020, he is giving those responsible fourteen days to come to some form of settlement, failure to do which he would forge ahead with committal proceedings for PS on whose directives money above three million dollars owed would be paid, in addition, he said he would also explore the possibility of bringing in the Minister of Finance Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
According to Clouden, his client, former businessman and politician Dorset Charles had his property on the Grand Anse Beach bulldozed by the ruling administration in 1996. The action according to Clouden was taken to court and in 1998 the Court of Appeal ruled that the action of the government was illegal and delivered judgment in favor of Charles in the sum of 1.6 million dollars.
Clouden said since this judgment Charles has been at loggerheads with the government to recover the money but with little success. The government he said continues to demonstrate gross disregard for the independence of the judiciary and a deliberate erosion of the rule of law by not honoring the ruling of the court
Clouden said with the accumulation of interest, the total now owed to Charles has risen to over 3.4 million dollars. He further noted that based on a June 2018 ruling handed down by Justice Raulston Glasgow, his firm filed for a writ of Mandamus compelling the government to pay the money owed to his client, again he said, this was to no avail. According to him, he still awaits a response from the PS in the Ministry of Finance Ms. Patricia Clarke who is now sitting in that position.
According to Clouden, on June 20th 2020 the Court of Appeal again ruled against a claim filed by the government, seeking to set aside the order of the court compelling the government to make immediate payment to Mr. Charles. He said based on this recent ruling, they are now moving full force to recover his client’s money irrespective of the consequences.
According to the veteran defense lawyer a letter was dispatched to the office of the PS on July 6th with a view to accepting a negotiated form of settlement. As it stands, he said, his client is destitute and in need of cash. He added that a failed response, would see them moving to the next level, asking the court to have the PS be committed to prison for failure to honor the ruling of the court.
Clouden noted that the decision taken by the government in 1996 was serious in that it did not only take away Charles’ place of residence it also took away his source of income.
Charles who was present at Tuesday’s press conference broke down in tears as he addressed the media admitting that it has been a rough twenty years for him since the demolition of his property. He went on to say that with no income of his own he has had to relied on his children in Canada for his survival.