Our Readers' Opinions
December 11, 2009
An Open Letter to Gonsalves, Eustace


Dear Messers Gonsalves and Eustace:

Straight up!: I am suggesting that Parliament take the necessary action to have another Referendum on a new Constitution at the same time as the next general elections.

We have heard nearly all we wanted to hear about the failed Constitutional Referendum. We must not see the November 25 result as “ULP lose and NDP win” but as a failure to secure the people’s endorsement for a reform package passed in Parliament.{{more}}

It will be scandalous if we were to put the reform process on the back-burner, as intimated by our Prime Minister on November 26. More than $10 million have been expended since this exercise commenced in 2001. Do we, as a poor country, just allow that money to go down the drain? I think not!

As I see it: the process should be continued and the people of SVG be given another opportunity to decide on the Constitution on the same day as the 2011 general elections.

From all that I have heard and read over the past several months, the “Yes Side” and the “No Side” are not far apart in terms of what is contained in the Parnel Campbell document. The NDP seems to have problems with about six areas of the proposal.

And what is very clear, there was a very low voter turn out on November 25. So it can be argued that we still do not know if a majority of the Vincentian electorate, and indeed a majority of the people, voted against the document.

Both political parties should commence meetings in January to resolve their outstanding differences on the document in order to arrive at a consensus on a revised document and Bill before Parliament.

None can deny that the vast majority of Vincentians at home and abroad had the opportunity, and indeed did give input into the development of the failed document. There is absolutely no need for more public hearings.

So here are some suggestions:

1. The Constitutional Reform Commission be given a fresh mandate by Parliament to continue its work up to the holding of the next proposed Referendum;

2. A joint motion of the Government and Opposition be brought before Parliament for a new Referendum to be held on the same day as the 2011 general elections;

3. The government and opposition hold discussions to resolve the differences on the document;

4. Having reached a consensus, both government and opposition call on the people to support the new revised document;

5. A new Referendum be held on the same day as the next general elections;

Mindful of the need for Constitutional reform in our quest for national development, I believe most Vincentians are anxious to see a solution sooner than later. It’s time to rid our nation of political divisiveness as we project an environment conducive for national development.

I am confident that you two gentlemen and your respective parties can do this for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Respectfully yours,

T. Wade Kojo Williams, Sr.