Dr. Francis Alexis, Q.C.
Chairman, Constitution Reform Advisory Committee
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
Dear Dr. Alexis:
Re: Notice of Withdrawal of Membership of NDC in Constitution Reform Advisory Committee
Further to my email of April 2nd 2015, regarding the above-captioned matter, I now reply substantively to your letter of March 31st 2015 as follows:
– Your decision not to concretely or specifically address, in your reply, any of the issues/concerns giving rise to our decision to withdraw our membership from the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee is duly noted.
– We deeply appreciate and are humbled by the Christian virtues conveyed by your letter.
– For the avoidance of any doubt, we must state emphatically that our decision to withdraw from your Committee was guided by patriotic considerations; nothing more, nothing less. As a political party, we strive, at all times, to do what we honestly believe to be in the best interest of our nation.
– We wish to assure you that our decision to withdraw from the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee in no way represents a decision on our part to disengage from the Constitution Reform Process. We consider it our patriotic duty to remain engaged.
– In light of paragraph 4 above, we feel constrained to bring to your attention and to the attention of the nation, the continuing failure or refusal on the part of your Committee to adhere to the Directive of the Cabinet, issued on or about January 5th 2015, in respect of its approval of additional recommendations submitted by your committee in its Further Report to Cabinet.
In your Communiqué to Committee members dated January 15th, 2015, you advised that the Cabinet had “approved the following additional three recommendations put forward by the Grenada Constitution Reform Committee, subject to the understanding that the committee must refine the recommendations and submit same for its further review and final approval” (emphasis added), namely: Election and tenure of the Head of State (the Governor General), term limits for the Prime Minister and an Opposition Leader to be assured at all times.
As we understood it, the approval by the Cabinet of these additional recommendations was a conditional approval and the final approval of these recommendations could only occur after your Committee had refined these recommendations and resubmitted same to Cabinet for its final approval. To the best of our knowledge, your Committee has to date not submitted any refinements of these recommendations to the Cabinet for its consideration and approval. Yet, in your Communiqué of March 25th 2015 to Committee members, you advised that the Committee drafting the Constitutional Bills had now settled on the said Bills and same have been delivered by your Committee to the Honourable Minister of Legal Affairs.
In our view, the steps taken by your Committee in relation to this matter constitute a grave departure from the standard of conduct expected of your Committee and throw the integrity of your draft Bills into serious doubt.
We hold ourselves ready to communicate with you on the matter of meaningful Constitution Reform in the nation’s best interest.
V. Nazim Burke.