March 4, 2005
A proud moment in our political history

Two years and two weeks after the launching, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), established by a Parliamentary Resolution passed unanimously on October 10, 2002, presented its Final Report to the House of Assembly on February 28, 2005.

At a very impressive ceremony at the first sitting of Parliament for the year 2005, CRC Chairman Parnell Campbell and his Commissioners signaled the successful completion of their assigned task, by presenting the House with their findings, conclusions and recommendations where constitutional reform is concerned.{{more}}

One year ago, the CRC had presented Parliament with an Interim Report, thus summarizing the outcome of many hours spent in consultations within the CRC itself, among its component parts, with the general public at large and even with Vincentians living overseas. The Final Report reflected in a more focused and detailed way the views of Vincentians and CRC members alike after a further round of public consultations.

So impressed was Parliament that on the same day of the presentation it unanimously passed a Resolution renewing and extending the tenure of the CRC until August 31, 2005 to provide for further consultations on matters of critical importance as set out in the Final Report. One would then expect intensive and focused examination of the range of recommendations especially as they relate to specific aspects of governance, fiscal management and human rights.

If there is one aspect of the CRC’s work which had stood out and has positive implications for democracy in St. Vincent, it has been its non-partisan nature. All three leading Parliamentary spokespersons – the Speaker, the Leader of the House (Prime Minister) and the Leader of the Opposition – were glowing in praise of the CRC on this score. At a time when partisan politics is very much in the air, such broad co-operation on a non-partisan basis, involving both political representatives and a wide cross-section of civil society, is indeed most commendable. It represents a much-needed breath of fresh air which can help us to retain political sanity as much as it provides political sanitation.

This attitude was most refreshing and inspiring. So sad though that we cannot look forward to this type of cooperation extending into the next sixteen months of the political life of this country. We can be so mature at times. But sadly as it gets closer to the fight for governance that will come with the general elections all this seeming maturity may just disappear.

This week though, was a proud moment in our nation’s history. This process is indeed an uplifting one. True people’s democracy in action.