The 2016 Constitutional Referendum is now behind us but there are lessons galore from the results for all of us but moreso the two main political parties on the island.
The people have spoken and their will – no matter the 32% turnout – should be respected by all and sundry.
The message was crystal clear from Grenadians through the overwhelming “No” vote to all seven bills that there should be no changes at this point in time to our present constitution.
There were too many mixed signals coming to the people from the Prime Minister that might have confused even his normally reliable NNP supporters to turn out in huge numbers and vote “Yes” to the bills.
Tuesday’s press briefing by PM Keith Mitchell was quite revealing when he expressed surprise that he did not see the people of Happy Hill at the voting station when he showed up to cast his own ballot.
How come the Prime Minister – a very astute politician who has won four general elections in the past – did not pick up the sentiments on the ground even within his own St. George North-west? Just food for thought!!!
The impression was formed along the way that the present government was prepared to give support to only four of the seven bills – CCJ, Name of State, Election and Boundaries, and Rights and Freedom.
Any casual observer would conclude that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Mitchell had abandoned CRAC and was swimming in its own waters.
Once the furore started over Rights and Freedom, there was a 360 degree turn around from those occupying the seat of power.
The hierarchy of the government made approaches to some persons in the legal profession to find out if this particular bill in its present form would give those inclined to have same sex relationships the right to get legally married in Grenada.
THE NEW TODAY is contending that our elected Parliamentarians were once again true to form – passing bills in the Houses of Representatives without fully reading and understanding what they were doing.
It is our contention that some Members of Parliament – especially those on the Government Side – do not read their documents period and go into the House to merely pass legislation and not challenge anything because they know that it will automatically pass.
There should have been no hurry to go full speed ahead with the Referendum without addressing the people’s concerns on same sex marriages.
All the authorities had to do was go back to Parliament and make the necessary changes to the legislation and insert a clause that would make it quite clear about same sex marriages.
This was not done and could have been interpreted by the people that those in the corridors of power were not prepared to meet them halfway.
This newspaper would hate to think that Constitutional Reform will be abandoned or put on the back-burner due to the outcome of last Thursday’s vote on the seven bills.
The attention of the public has been caught and the right and decent thing to do is to proceed with the process but along different lines.
The Constitution must be introduced into the school system and at the same time a Constituent Assembly as introduced into the debate by “Citizen John Rullow” should be seriously considered in order to examine the whole process and eventually a new constitution.
The people should be put at the centre of the process and not seen as pawns in the game.
There were people who voted with a resounding “NO” last Thursday due to the manner in which their views were not considered but rejected outright by CRAC and the powers-that-be on what they would have liked to see included in Constitutional Reform.
THE NEW TODAY got the sense that many Grenadians took offense to the rejection of their desire to see “Recall of Parliamentarians” on the Referendum ballot.
This one issue would be sending a signal to the electorate that our politicians were prepared to support “People’s Power” and not denying them of that right.
The rejection of Recall of MP’s gives credence to the Marxist-Leninist philosophy that people in a democracy only have power for five seconds in every five years when they are given a single opportunity to make changes to their so-called elected leaders.
The government might still be drunk from the 15-0 run over of the opposition in 2013 and still operating on Cloud Nine.
Would anyone of them get sober enough to understand that some persons might have used Referendum 2016 as a protest vote to some of the policies of the administration?