The following are my views on what constitution reform for Grenada in 2014 should be.
The Current Process
First I believe that the current process is anti-democratic and illegal because whereas the constitution by which this country is governed never involved the people or citizens of Grenada in its making, and any process today to take a similar route to 1973/1974 will be replicating an “illegal act” as was then outlined by the late Herbert Blaize (RIP) for under no circumstances should a handpicked clique of partisanised “selected people from special interest groups” assume the rights to write the foundational or supreme laws of any nation.
The people through their power of the vote, being the owners of the sovereign and constituent power of the nation have to exercise their rights to decide who shall rewrite their constitution.
In a true democracy there are no privileges. We believe that the most democratic process in any part of the world to involve people’s participation on issues, like this is through an elected constituent assembly.
This assembly shall be made up of people who put themselves forward to the electorate, demonstrating their qualifications and commitments to debate and vote in the assembly on all matters taken in from their consultations with the people in a normal educative and consultative campaign process.
Anything to the contrary shall be deemed anti-democratic, illegal and usurpation of power.
Reform or Amendment?
As per the English dictionary, to amend is to make minor alteration for the correction of faults and errors and to reform means to do or make better by eliminating false and defects, and secondly to abolish and cure abuses and malpractices.
And this is why we believe that the current action taken by a partism organisation and adopting only minor alterations to the constitution is certainly no form of Reform and it demonstrates another bluff by the people who are involved in it.
It must be clear to all and sundry in Grenada today that this constitution has been abused, the rights of the citizens have been abused, the politicians converted into politicking demagogues have abused their power, mislead the people and have brought the nation to a state of moral and ethical demise and last but by no means least the nation has never asserted nor affirmed its true political independence and in effect has always been a colony, a “neo-Colonialist colony” of The United Kingdom and all this tells us therefore that it is time that we write our own constitution which will decide our future into the generations to come, and WE CAN.
Proposal for debate in the new constitution
We consider the following as extremely important and essential for consideration and debate towards our new constitution.
A preamble which specifies the supremacy of God above all things within the nation and further enshrines that Grenada shall be a free, independent, sovereign, democratic and secular nation. Free from any domination of any foreign power whatsoever.
In addition to the currently established executive, legislative and judicial arms of the state, there shall be a fourth independent arm known as the electoral and boundaries council or commission.
As a fifth arm of the state there shall be a national citizens council which shall be to elevate the voice of the people in an organised way to constitutional ranking and therefore guarantee that “civil society” shall have its voice heard and respected.
There shall be a distinct separation between the Executive and the Legislature i.e. that the people who make the laws of the nation cannot continue to be the same people who make the policy decisions of the nation.
There shall be an executive presidential system with the president elected through direct ballot.
There shall be an all elected unicameral legislature, thus eliminating hand picked senatorial positions of special interest group. This will also guarantee a legislative body with four major functions Viz.
To make and constantly update the laws of the nation.
To survey, monitor and control all arms of the executive and other constitutionally established entities of the state through its Select Committees.
To appoint through a process of nomination, evaluation and selection of all heads of the constitutionally established entities of the State, and the heads of departments established through ministerial mandate. Additionally this executive shall censure the nominations made by the Presidents for the appointment of his cabinet.
To attend to their constituents in their corresponding constituencies in co-ordinations with the executive.
There shall be the figure of “referenda”. Consultative referendum shall be held on national issues that polarise, the population and other issues of National interest. Revokatory or recall referendum shall be used to terminate the services of elected members of Parliament or the President with a specific percentage of the electorate be it constituency or national after half the term in office.
There shall be abolishment of all forms of immunity for public officers and members of the executive.
There shall be an enshrined guarantee of freedom of information on all matters related to the governing of the State to the people.
There shall be a clear separation between the State and the Church.
That health care, education and housing shall be established as fundamental human rights of the citizens of the nation.
There shall be an expressed prohibition of all forms of enclaves be it through nationalities, religions, cults or ethnic groupings or organisations in any part of the National Territory.
There shall be an expressed prohibition on all forms of restriction to access to the beaches on the coast of the National Territory.
There shall be term limits on the tenure of the elected president; suggestion of two terms in, similar period out with a return possible.
The total territorial extension of the nation including its maritime territory shall be included in the constitution.
There shall be an expressed prohibition to foreign ownership of any of the natural resources of the nation which shall include hydrocarbons (Petroleum and natural gas) hydrological, thermal and any other mineral or non mineral aggregates from within the sub soil or submarine territory of the nation.
There shall be an expressed prohibition on the sale or privatisation of any of the nation’s seaports or airports.
There shall be an expressed prohibition of the use of any of the nation’s seaports or airports as a staging ground for any military operations against any nation within the region.
There shall be an expressed prohibition on all forms of monopoly, speculation, hoarding, profiteering and usury.
There shall be a clear definition of the functions of the State in the Economy. There shall be a clearly established procedure for:
The amendment of the constitution in the future.
The reform/reformation /revamping of the constitution in the future.
We close by saying that we are firmly of the opinion that the time has come to take the advantage of the current political, economic, social, moral and ethical crisis experienced by the nation to chart a new direction into the future generation.
We believe that to guarantee an assertion and affirmation of our true political independence, to establish the practice of real, direct, protogonic and participatory, democracy, for the purpose of establishing true social justice and equality, thus permitting the exercise of full human rights of citizens of Grenada.
John Anthony Rullow