March 20, 2009
Constitutional Review Committee, Government praised for resolve

The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and those involved in the constitutional review process have received high praise for their decisiveness and follow through.

The praise was showered by Dr Francis Alexis QC, the man who will spearhead the drafting committee for this country’s new constitution.{{more}}

At a press conference last Friday, March 13th, at Cabinet Room, Dr Alexis said that it was good to see the dedication to the process by those involved, which is a far cry from what has happened in other Caribbean territories.

“You have had constitutional review exercises in Barbados, in Jamaica, all over, and those reports and memoranda are gathering dust,” the prominent Grenadian attorney said.

Dr Alexis will lead a team that will include Dr Hamid Ghany of Trinidad and Tobago and Parnell Campbell QC, who is the Chairman of the Constitutional Review Steering Committee (CRSC), and a person yet to be named by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace.

Dr Francis lauded the process, which included public consultations to come up with the recommended changes to the constitution, saying that it was important that the people felt bonded to their constitution.

He suggested that a lack of this type of bonding was partly responsible for the March 13th, 1979, Maurice Bishop-led revolution in his home country of Grenada, “because to some extent the people felt they had become disengaged from the process because of abuse of power.”

He also gave the commitment of his committee to making the new constitution people friendly: “Our resolve is to come up with simple, clear words and phrases in the constitution so that all the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines will be able to pick up the constitution and read it and understand.”

Dr Ghany, for his part, said that he considered being part of the drafting committee an honour, while Parnell Campbell QC declared “This is it”, saying that the labour of the last six years is now culminating into “tangible results.” (KJ)