The Magistrate courts in Grenada have been enabled to continue proceedings remotely where necessary, this has become even more required in the face of COVID-19.
Last Wednesday (Aug 26), Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill, was the recipient of four laptops, two HP printers and ink cartridges for the tri-island state.
The donation was made by the British High Commission in Grenada and the US Embassy in Grenada via a UK/US funded programme that seeks to support the criminal justice sector within the Eastern Caribbean.
Resident British Commissioner to Grenada, Wendy Freeman, noted that due to COVID-19, the courts have not been able to function as normal and thus she is happy to make this donation to help the courts function remotely.
Charge d’affaires at the US Embassy in Grenada, Karl Duckworth said it is the hope that the donation will help court proceedings go as planned and on time. “Our hope that this will continue to help people work remotely and stop the spread of COVID-19 and the justice system can prevail,” he said.
Court sessions have resumed following the lifting of the curfew but is taking place in keeping with the COVID-19 protocols limiting the number of persons in court at any one time, on entry hands are sanitized and people are required to wear a mask. Physical distancing is also observed within court rooms.
According to Magistrate Gill, who presides over the St George’s Magistrate Court, “In appropriate cases, it will be necessary to conduct hearings or parts of hearings remotely. For example, if a party is unwell or considered high risk for COVID-19, it would not be in the best interest of any one to attend court physically. In a case like that, the court must resort to the use of equipment and allow that person to participate via video link.”
Further, she said, “COVID or no COVID these equipment is vital to the functioning of our courts generally and you can rest assured that everything here will be put to maximum use and for the furtherance of the administration of justice at the Magisterial level in Grenada.”
Magistrate Gill added, “We shall do our best to distribute the items equitably throughout the State including the Carriacou Magistrate Court….”