November 20, 2009
PMC still wants postponement

Political watchdog The People’s Movement for Change (PMC) is hoping a petition will save the Constitution Reform Process.{{more}}

In a last ditch effort to gain a postponement, the PMC is seeking at least 500 signatures, mere days before the November 25 referendum, in which Vincentians will decide if the proposed Constitution Bill is accepted or rejected.

More than one month ago, the PMC had made a similar request to the political leaders, requesting that the leaders postpone the referendum and hold talks. This idea was rejected by the leaders.

Secretary of the PMC, Jomo Thomas, speaking to Searchlight on Monday, said that his organization is taking a principled stand when it comes to the referendum.

“Because the politicians are going ahead (with the referendum) does not mean we should drop our cause,” Thomas said.

“Our concept is a matter of principle which will save the Constitution Reform Process.”

On that same day, a letter addressed to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, sent on behalf of Thomas and PMC Chairman Oscar Allen, once again called on the men to ‘immediately agree on and observe a truce.’

The letter stated in part: “We note that the present hostile and partisan political environment is defining the referendum on the constitution as a thing to be won or defeated at all costs…. We hold that the constitution and consultations on it have reached a defining stage of their development and need reflective time and space…. We call on both Dr. Gonslaves and Mr. Eustace, out of respect for this historic moment of our national development and political change, to heed our call and to step back from the brink: postpone the referendum, make peace and restore our dignity.”

Thomas, who said that the referendum at this point was a danger to the nation, stated that the signatures garnered, be it more or less than the desired 500, would be presented to both leaders.

“This is so that they could see that there is a group of people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who thinks this course of action is a proper one.”

The letter was scheduled to be followed up earlier this week with an address by Chairman Allen on SVG TV, then an open forum with further debate and discussions.

Although acknowledging that the proposed document was a better one than the one received at independence in 1979, Thomas said that his organization is of the view that a postponement would allow some other good ideas to be included, thus making it even better.

“If there is no postponement, then voters must vote with their conscience. Make an informed vote. Get the facts and vote!” (JJ)