by Linda Straker
- Grenada first declared a 21-day State of Emergency in March
- On 17 April, Parliament approved to extend it for 6 months
- Current regulation scheduled to expire at 11:59 pm on 5 August
Grenadians will be living on a long term state of emergency as part of government’s measures aimed at controlling and containing the spread of Covid-19, the novel coronavirus identified in December 2019 and which has infected millions around the world and caused the death of thousands.
In mid-March 2020, Grenada’s laboratory-confirmed first case was an imported case from the United Kingdom and within days, a State of Emergency was declared with 24-hour curfew. As of mid-July, Grenada tested more than 3,000 persons for the virus. There have been 23 confirmed cases which has been declared medically recovered and there were no deaths. The island currently has no active case.
“We will be going to parliament with a permanent State of Emergency, a law that guides us for a period of time. I honestly believe that we should have that process in place until you have a vaccine that protects the people from being infected,” Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, said on Wednesday.
“Until a vaccine is found I don’t think we should lift the emergency situation completely. The protocols are still in place and therefore you have to have a legal status for any such law that is implemented.” Mitchell who also holds the ministerial portfolio of National Security, said, “The present situation is we need it until a vaccine is found. I don’t see us removing it.”
Section 3 of the Emergency Powers legislation states that a declaration that a state of emergency exists can occur:
- If at any time it appears to the Governor-General that action has been taken or is immediately threatened by any person or body of persons of such a nature and on so extensive a scale as to be likely to endanger the maintenance of public order or the defence of Grenada or the maintenance of public safety or the defence of the community or any substantial portion of the community or any supplies or services essential to the life of the community, the Governor-General may, by Proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette, declare that a state of emergency exists in Grenada or any part thereof, whereupon the provisions contained elsewhere in this Act shall immediately have application.
- A declaration of emergency may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General by Proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette.
- The Governor-General shall exercise the powers conferred on him or her by this section in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet.
Grenada first declared a 21-day State of Emergency in March, and on 17 April 2020, members of both the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament approved to extend it for 6 months. Since then there is continuous weekly or fortnightly renewal of the emergency regulations. The current regulation is scheduled to expire at 11:59 pm on 5 August 2020.