Grenada proposes to enshrine press freedom in new Constitution
The Grenada government is proposing to include an explicit freedom of the press provision among proposed changes to its Constitution that it will ask citizens to approve in a referendum.
The tri-island nation is again attempting to reform the constitution, which came into force on February 7, 1974 when Grenada attained Independence from Britain.
Minister of Information Sheldon Scott said that freedom of expression is implied among the rights enshrined in the current Constitution.
He told the Communication Rights and Freedoms in the Caribbean forum that forms part of the 46th general assembly of the Barbados-based Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) that freedom of expression should be clearly spelled out in the new document.
“And when we are speaking of constitutional rights and freedoms and amending that section of it, we thought it important, very important, that we include specifically within the new draft of the Constitution that we are proposing the referendum on, the words ‘freedom of the press.’ It is important to us and I believe it is important to the people of Grenada that it be enshrined in our Constitution the words ‘freedom of the press’,” Scott said.
Scott said that he has been inquiring about whether “the average Grenadian” understands what the current Constitution says about their fundamental rights and freedoms.
“You’ve been finding that most Grenadians don’t know what the constitution says. They believe that they have rights, they understand that they have rights and so on, but they cannot quote the consultation, they cannot tell you as a person from the United States might be able to say my Third Amendment rights or my Second Amendment rights or so on.
“In the Caribbean, our people, unless they are legally minded or they have reasons to enter a courtroom or something of that nature, they tend not to focus on what their constitutional rights are,” Scott said, adding that the media have a role to play in educating the population about their rights.
The minister said that it is not the first time that Grenada is attempting constitutional reform.
“Indeed, it is something that several times — at least four times — Grenada has been attempting, and this time, we have made that resolution that we will ensure that it will be done this time. Constitutional reform must come to Grenada,” Scott said.