The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken a decision to pull back from publicly encouraging citizens to vote “no” against the Bills that are being considered for the referendum to effect changes to the Grenada Constitution.
Congress Chairman, Vincent Roberts who was a guest on a radio talk show programme last week Wednesday said NDC has taken a decision to give the lead role to the Civil Society group which has been pointing out what it believes to be matters of a sinister nature with a number of the Bills.
“The National Democratic Congress, deliberately and strategically pulled back from the lead. The reason why we did so is because people are starting to see the political position, and if we come out front and start leading and saying we advocate that you vote, but vote no which is critical, people would feel that we are simply taking that position because we don’t like (Prime Minister) (Dr.) Keith Mitchell,” he said.
No specific date has been announced for the holding of the referendum this year.
According to Roberts, Congress sees civil society as non-political and best poised to handle the issue.
He spoke of the group being critical of both NDC and the ruling New National Party (NNP), the two main political parties on the island.
The NDC Chairman said his party is glad to see civil society “speaking in that neutral space” and pointing out the errors, as well as the problems with the Bills and why they think that Grenadians should vote, and vote no.
He re-iterated that Congress which pulled out from membership of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) that was holding public consultations throughout Grenada on having changes to the constitution, holds a very similar position like Civil Society with regards to the Bills.
The eight Bills have already had their first reading in the Lower House of Parliament.
They are Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice-related matters (amendment) Act , Name of State, Restructuring (amendment) Act, Term of Office of Prime Minister, Fixed Date For Elections, ensuring the appointment of Leader of the Opposition (amendment) Act, Elections and Boundaries Commission (amendment) Act, and Rights and Freedoms (amendment).
Roberts said NDC believes that “Name of State Bill” is one of the most pathetic Bills that can be put forward in a referendum.
“The issue of public islands, this is something that is alien to our people and should not be supported. That must be clarified, and even if it is clarified there is a mistrust… with regard to the whole lack of definition of our marine space, our air because what happens in our air space is of importance, and this must be outlined as putting the definition for the State of Grenada,” he told the programme host.
The NDC Chairman also made mention of the “Fixed Date For General Elections Bill” stating that Congress believes that the Prime Minister has too much power and this is a Bill which will reduce some of the power.