THE SENATE OF GRENADA
I - PARLIAMENTARY COMPOSITION
13 senators appointed by the Governor general.
II - SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT
Term of office: 5 years.
Last reappointed: 27 November 2003.
Eligibility: 18 years, citizen of a British Commonwealth nation, domiciled or resident in Grenada twelve months prior to nomination, reading and writing ability in English.
Ineligibility: undischarged bankruptcy, allegiance to a foreign state, insanity, sentence of death or imprisonment exceeding one year, government contractors.
The Supreme Court judges the validity of appointments to the Senate.
III - PARLIAMENTARY SESSIONS
A - The Governor general sets the date for the opening and closing of each session.
At least one session takes place each year and there is a maximal interval of six months between sessions.
B - ADJOURNMENT
Where a quorum of at least six senators is not reached, the session is adjourned.
IV - RELATIONS WITH OTHER HOUSE
AND EXECUTIVE POWER
The Parliament is comprised of the Queen of England, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
1) Powers to initiate legislation
The senators (like members of the House of Representatives) have the power to propose legislation.
However, this right is restricted as regards legislative proposals concerning public finances, new taxes, public contributions or taxation increases (subject to approval of president of the session), unless the Government gives its consent.
2) Powers of amendment
Like members of the House of Representatives, senators have the power to amend legislation however, this right is restricted as regards legislative proposals concerning public finances, new taxes, social welfare contributions or taxation increases (subject to approval of president of the Senate), unless the Government gives its consent.
3) Legislative procedure
Bills may be submitted before either house, save in the case of finance bills which must be submitted before the House of Representatives.
Majority vote, the President of the Senate does not participate in votes, save during the final reading of an act of law where he has the casting vote.
a) Ordinary procedure
Legislative bills are examined by both houses.
Where a bill is adopted on two occasions by the House of Representatives in two successive sessions and is rejected by the Senate, it is transmitted to the Governor general for promulgation unless the House of Representatives decides otherwise and on condition that a six-month interval separates both readings of the bill at the House of Representatives.
During the second reading, the House of Representatives may propose amendments to the Senate. Where these are approved by the Senate, they are considered as adopted by the House of Representatives.
In respect of this procedure, a bill is considered to have been rejected by the Senate where it is not adopted without amendment or where it is voted with amendments that the House of Representatives refuses to adopt.
In the matter of ordinary laws (outside of finance laws), a Senate amendment is only considered as adopted by the House of Representatives where it has been voted by a two-thirds majority of the House's delegates.
b) Specific provisions regarding fiscal policy
1) Finance bills are first examined by the House of Representatives.
The House may decide to override the Senate's opposition to a finance bill. Where a bill is not adopted without amendments by the Senate in the month following its submission by the House of Representatives, it is sent before the Governor general for promulgation, unless the House of Representatives decides otherwise.
The character of a finance bill is determined by the President of the House of Representatives when the bill is sent before the Senate.
2) The Parliament may decide to establish a contingency fund and authorise a finance minister to meet unforeseen expenses by releasing the necessary sums from the contingency fund. In such cases, a rectification to the finance bill is lodged with the House of Representatives at the earliest opportunity.
B - POWERS OF SCRUTINY
The Cabinet is collectively responsible before the Parliament for any recommendation made to the Governor general either by or under the general authority of the Cabinet and for all acts performed by or under the authority of a minister during his term of office (however a no-confidence vote may only be taken by the House of Representatives).
C - DISSOLUTION AND EXTENSION OF TERM OF PARLIAMENT
1) At the Prime minister's advice, the Governor general may at any time dissolve or extend the term of office of the Parliament.
2) Where the House of Representatives refuses to vote a motion of confidence requested by the Prime minister (leader of the majority) or where it censures the Government, both houses are dissolved and unless a replacement majority can be found, elections are held within three months and, thereafter, the senators are appointed.
V - SPECIAL PROVISIONS
A - CONSTITUTIONAL REVISIONS:
A constitutional amendment (or bill modifying the form of organisation of the courts) may not be referred to the Senate until the House of Representatives has first voted a resolution proposing said amendment by a majority of two-thirds of its members.
To amend certain constitutional provisions (or provisions concerning the court system), specific intervals must be observed between each reading of the concerned amendment by the same assembly. In addition, it is generally preferable for the amendment to be approved by both houses.
Once an amendment has been dismissed by the Senate, it must be submitted for a second reading. Where necessary, a referendum may be called by a two-thirds majority.
To all extents and purposes, however, the House of Representatives makes the final reading of the proposed amendment which must be voted by two-thirds of the house's members to be adopted.
B - PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
The President of the Senate is elected by the senate's members and may not be a minister or parliamentary secretary (secretary of state).
C - STATE OF EMERGENCY
The Governor general may declare a state of emergency (e.g. in the event of war) without derogating from the Constitution's provisions prohibiting slavery or racial discrimination. Parliament must approve such declarations within a period of 21 days.
The Parliament may also declare a state of emergency (six months maximum) by a majority vote. Such measures may be renewed at the Parliament's discretion
D - Government ministers and parliamentary secretaries (secretaries of state) may be chosen from among the senators and representatives.