Sticking a Pin…

Hit the Reset Button

We had a Revolution! We are no ordinary or innocent Caribbean nation!
‘Doh do us dat’! Leadership is stumbling again in the streets of St. George’s! Unity of the

Grenadian people continues to be a hopeless dream. Leadership and unity are fundamentals of a stable society.

Twice in five years, 1979 and again in 1983, the ‘Gun Standard’ of leftist politics was raised brutally against the will of the people.

In 1985, we spoke loudly again in favour of democracy and the rule of law through the Constitution. Forty-two years after Independence, no politician should arrange to dismantle or disfigure our democracy simply on the basis of his presumed popularity. The betrayal of the ‘Ballot-box Standard’ is as disgusting as the bastardisation of power and democracy by the ‘Gun Standard’.

It is October 2016; one would think that educated Grenadians in politics would learn from the lessons of the Revolution and dedicate themselves; not to power, but to the people; not to dictatorship, but to democracy; not to personal ambition, but to service to the nation.

In 1983, we saw people without character, but equipped with certified learning, bring the Grenadian nation to its knees. Alarmingly, in 2016, a group with similar characteristics seems hell bent on bringing us to our knees again through un-democratic arrangements posing as Constitution Reform. Their ‘tricks and traps’ assault and let down every sensible and concerned Grenadian.

We had a Revolution! We experienced the pain of a wounded nation!

Someone has to learn! Someone has to put himself on the high ground of nation-building and inspiration of the youth.

Someone has to understand that the Constitution is not just the Supreme Law, but the supreme nation-builder, in terms of the values and expectations of the society. In fact, law does not create a society. Its role is to protect the society and promote its longevity.

For these reasons we must ‘socialise’ the Constitution around the people. Politicians cannot be allowed to write the rules by which they wish to govern the people. That would be no different from the passage of People’s Laws under the PRG!

Why locate the Elections and Boundaries Commission on ‘May-May-land’ when a ‘Terra Firma’ solution is available? The disease was initially caused by legalese (formulation and interpretation); its cure must be based on simple prudence informed by experience.

Bet your life, if in 2013 the Governor General was not Sir Carlyle, certain appointments to the Senate would have been entirely different, in all probability. Not so? Calypsonian Muscle in reviewing aspects of the history of the Catholic Church, called for certainty in electing a new Pope; “black smoke, black Pope”! Certainty trumps discretion all the time.

But now the Prime Minister of Grenada is bold enough to virtually declare on public television, that Constitution Reform is to be subordinated to his elections agenda! Can you believe that? Did he understand what he was saying, especially speaking, as he did, on October 19, the darkest, most brutal and anti-people day in the political history of this country?

So here we find him standing up for himself and to hell with the nation! Young Grenadians are being scuttled out of a decent future!

There is a saying that the cloth can only be sewed based on how it is cut. Since 1985, we have proceeded on the wrong footing with arrangements for Constitution Reform. The advisory model has finally brought us to a point of checkmate and the brink of division.

Although, it must be remembered, that the Bills before the voters are owned by the Parliament and not the CRAC. It is outrageous that having passed the Bills in Parliament, Members of Parliament wearing their green hats are now telling citizens that they are only in favour of three of the seven Bills!

Thankfully, it appears that the heavens have intervened. It is time for us to reset for genuine Constitution Reform. We have the opportunity to fix things for a ‘YES’ vote. There is no justification for rushing the process. We the people can have our Referendum after the Prime Minister has his elections in 2017. Lives are not being lost, neither is there a breakdown of law and order due to constitutional deficiencies. To rush the people in these circumstances is to politicise the process.

The fixing must reject and expunge partisan intrigues and interests now alive in as many as five of the seven Bills. A reset will also enable us to agree on the values and principles to justify and anchor the desired reforms.

Incidentally, we could also agree to remove from the Constitution any provision which the people consider capable of allowing or legally facilitating behaviours that are thought to be immoral and objectionable in our culture.

Here are some examples of values and principles, to be applied in an issue-specific manner, by which we may direct ourselves going forward:

i. Service over dictatorship

ii. Independence and impartiality

iii. Enhanced governance

iv. Enlarged democracy

v. Removal of political discretion

vi. Popular representation

vii. Trust and confidence

viii. Protection of cultura/societal norms

ix. Reduction and re-balancing of power.

Guided in this way and working through alternative institutional arrangements, we could agree on and approve reforms to our Constitution aimed at curing specific diseases encountered over the last forty years and positioning Grenada for the next forty years. The power belongs to the people, not the political parties.

‘RESET for a YES’!

William Joseph

Editor’s Note: The new date set for the Referendum is November 24, 2016

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