Commission deadlines are ‘farcical’ -Eustace
September 21, 2010
Commission deadlines are ‘farcical’ -Eustace

The new deadlines set for the submission of suggestions to the Constitutional Boundaries Commission have been described as “farcical” and “unacceptable”, and a recommendation has been made that they be significantly lengthened.{{more}}

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace on Monday, September 20 on the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) New Times radio programme, said that on September 17, he received a letter from the Chairman of the Boundaries Commission Aldric Williams, inviting him to submit proposals with regard to the creation of the two additional seats for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Eustace said, the letter, dated September 16, gave him until September 23, 2010 to submit his proposals.

“This is a joke, they can’t be serious,” Eustace said, referring to the deadline.

“They want to rush another report as they did the first one and it will have the same result that the first one had, if they want to do this,” the Leader of the Opposition said.

Eustace also mentioned that the Commission published in the edition of SEARCHLIGHT of Friday, September 17, an invitation to the public to submit proposals, but with a deadline of September 22.

“You just had to withdraw a report and you going back down the same road now, not giving the people time to make comments, and we talk abut we have a democracy,” Eustace quipped.

He said previous Boundaries Commisisons had sat for eight months or more than a year, before coming up with recommendations.

“You can’t submit a meaningful reoprt in less than a week!” he exclaimed.

Eustace said in making recommendations, one has to consider the existing boundaries; the census figures; population density; means of communication; and geographical features.

Eustace said on Monday, September 20, he therefore responded to Williams’ letter as follows:

“I find your deadline of less than one week for such submissions to be a farce, particularly in light of the fact that your Commission is withdrawing its original report. Indeed, your press release, which puports to seek proposals from the general public is even more ridiculous, as it gives an even shorter time for submission, namely, September 22, 2010.

“Indeed, the withdrawal of your original report is due partly to your failure to consult with the public and political parties that any meaningful consultation will nessitate a lengthier undertaking.

“In light of the importance of the Boundaries Commissions Report to the holding of free and fair elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the maintenance of our democratic traditions, I recommend that you significantly lengthen the deadlines for receipt of all proposals, if it is the aim of your Commission to participate in any serious and meaningful consultation,” Eustace’s letter stated.

“Those deadlines are unacceptable, they are farcical; it is a joke, and a cruel joke, perpetrated on the people of this country,” Eustace reiterated on Monday’s radio programme.