Leader of Government Business in the Upper House of Parliament, Senator Simon Stiell has announced that $1.5M is being provided in the 2016 budget to support the referendum on constitutional reform which is expected to take place in the first half of 2016.
Six Bills to effect amendments to the Constitution had its first reading two weeks ago in the House of Representatives.
They are Name of State, Term of Office for the Prime Minister, Fundamental Rights and Freedom, Establishment of an Elections and Boundaries Commission, Constitution of Grenada Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice Related Matters (Amendment) Bill 2015, and Constitution of Grenada Restructuring (Amendment) Bill 2015.
Sen. Stiell who is the Representative of the ruling New National Party (NNP) on the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) told the Senate during his contribution to the debate on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure that it has taken the country more than 30 years to get to the current stage in constitutional reform.
He believes there is significant inner value in the proposed amendments to the Constitution since there are 70 individual proposals within the six Bills.
The Leader of Government Business stressed the concept that constitution reform should not be a one-off activity, and that it should be a continuous process.
“This is just a start, it’s not the end. What may not be considered today, may be considered at a future point,” he said.
However, Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sen. Nazim Burke told Parliament that the NNP government needs to take a closer look at the constitutional reform process.
Sen. Burke recalled that government was presented with a recommendation by CRAC of which NDC had membership that arising from a consultation from the Grenada Trade Centre, that the people should like to have the right to recall a Parliamentary Representative, but this was rejected by the Cabinet of Ministers without any explanation.
He noted that the process towards constitutional reform is not being driven by the will of the people, but rather by the will of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Speculation is rife that Congress intends to mount a “no-vote” campaign in the proposed referendum.