Our Readers' Opinions
December 4, 2009

The failed proposed constitution 2009


Editor: I usually do not express myself in the national media but what a relief it was to know that Vincentians are maturing politically that they knew that a vote of NO was a vote for the love of country, and they did so overwhelmingly.{{more}}

I want to speak about a group of people who asked to come into my home so that they could discuss the 2009 constitution with me. I was happy to invite them, but I did first inform them that technically there was no such thing as a 2009 constitution, that the government was afraid to put the word (proposed) since it wanted to create a fait accompli mind-set in Vincentians. There were two females and one male, and as we sat down on my patio, I noticed that they all sported shirts with a YES sign, so I asked if they were part of the YES group paid by the tax purse, to which the lead female responded shyly in the affirmative.

I thought that if our taxes were paying for this exercise, then it could only be fair to have the NO group sit down with us for such an exercise in democracy. The YES group then told me that there wasn’t a NO group. I was then put in the position of becoming the devil’s advocate. I indicated that if this was the government’s notion of FAIRNESS and the precursor of things to come, how can we expect any government to be fair in dealing with acquisition of people’s property? There was no response. I decided to move on, enquiring why we were proposing practicing policies of exclusion such as denying people of different lifestyles the pursuit of their “happiness”? A clear parallel can be drawn from our past history where mainline religions had the right of freedom to worship, a right which had been denied to the Spiritual Baptists for many years; the heritage of our colonial past seems to be hounding us.

The YES group had nothing to offer and they abruptly departed. The actions of the framers of the proposed constitution ran contrary to the doctrine of fairness, to tolerance of differences, to equality of opportunity. We must keep in mind that this document cannot be easily modified, as we have experienced. Therefore, it must stand the test of time and consequently be the embodiment of the wishes of all the people.

My conviction is that we cannot take our democracy for granted because we are living in dangerous times. You see intelligent people, particularly when they become “TALKING HEADS”, making references to ‘political geniuses’ and that something would be in the offing in 9 months to a year, well could that be a U.D.I.? Remember a man called Ian Smith and a country Rhodesia? Do we aim to “complete” our independence using his model? The truth is, some very important articles in the PROPOSED constitution of 2009 were in fact nothing but the practise of political chicanery at the highest levels. I got the sense that in some cases it was a quid pro quo document that you sit down in a Union shop and bargain about. The people have lost trust because we cannot have the supreme law of the land making some Vincentians more equal than others, and at the same time above the law.

Ken Lewis