Grenada PM versus the press

What took place

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and Grenada Today newspaper have been at loggerheads for quite some time.  Among the many alleged anti-Mitchell stories the newspaper ran was one critical of Dr. Mitchell about the kind of investors allowed in Grenada.

Mitchell claimed that the story defamed him and took the newspaper and its publisher/editor George Worme to court.  After a lengthy battle, the court awarded the Prime Minister EC$200,000. (US$74,074).

But, according to a petition filed by the PM, efforts to get payment has been delayed and “the company is unable to pay its debt and in the circumstances it is just and equitable that the company should be wound up”.

When the matter came up in court last week, it was adjourned until January 26 next year because defence lawyer Anslem Clouden told the judge that he would be out of the country for some time.

Commentator’s view

Commentator on social affairs Gerald W. McLean said that the issue is sure to draw interest if only because some may view it as an attack on the press. But, he pointed out, the press is not immune to the laws of the land.  And if a newspaper or a radio station or TV station ignores those laws and breaks the law “then it has to face the consequences just as if a private citizen fails to observe laws”.

What’s next

The eyes and ears of the Grenada and the rest of the Caribbean and the international media community will be watching with interest the outcome of the January, 2006 court matter.

There are some who, regardless of the issue, will argue that the press ought not to be taken to court for anything published. And that if indeed there is an error, a simple apology would suffice. But there are others who say that the press is just another institution in the community and as such is subject to the rules and laws of the land. And that the kind of error would determine the redress….an apology or fine or any other court
imposed penalty.