We have captioned this article with this Caribbean word “rachifi”, specifically to highlight the significant role it plays in oura society and to show its connection with politics and demagogy.
The word has many synonyms in proper English, namely: underhandedness, skulduggery, trickery, crafty deception and deceitful, dishonest or unscrupulous behaviour.
As we move into the final countdown towards a clearly anti-democratic and highly partisanised Constitution Reform, our caption bears greater relevance. Therefore, it is essential that we leave a historical reference to some tough questions before the probable consummation of a “Constitutional Coup d’état” scheduled for November 24th, 2016.
As citizens and co-owners of this nation we are obligated to ask ourselves: why it was the Cabinet and an ad-hoc hand-picked clique of “selected people from special interest groups” which unilaterally took the decision to manage the reform and “restructuring” of the national Constitution?
Where did they get this authority from; who owns the sovereign and constituent power of the nation; why the vast majority of the recommendations made by “the people” were rejected; why more national “hearings” of submissions both oral and written from nationals at home and abroad were not held; why other alternatives for genuine democratic constitutional reform were not considered; why people representing interest groups of other countries are on our Reform Committee; why the Advisory Committee and the Cabinet are openly campaigning in favour of the bills; amongst other things.
Whereas a national Constitution is a living and vibrant contract between the people (the governed) and their legitimate leaders (those who govern), said document has to be prepared integrally and mutually between both parties and has to reflect the aims, desires and aspirations of “the people”.
The Constitutional Reform process has to make maximum efforts to chart a consensual vision for the future of the nation, to help to heal the divisions among the population, to stimulate national unity, to create a collective societal bond among the people, to reinforce the representative component of democracy with direct, people-led and people-driven participatory aspects to guarantee the maximum exercise of all fundamental rights and freedoms for all and sundry citizens of the nation; as well as to establish crystal clear guidelines for accountability in public office, to set fixed and defined boundaries against excesses, to clearly layout stringently precise consequences for violators and abusers of public offices and most importantly and significantly of all is that the Constitution has to affirm and assert the political independence of the nation.
We would like to draw reference to pages 5 and 6 of a booklet published by the then Justice Nicholas Liverpool (RIP) and ably supported by the rest of the 2002 Grenada Constitution Review Commission, where it states:
“It is therefore instructive that neither the document which terminated Grenada’s status as an Associate State of the United Kingdom nor the existing Constitution of Grenada is an enactment of the Parliament of Grenada. On its face, each document is an Imperial Order-in-Council of The Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty.
Further, the Constitution has never received legislative approval by the Parliament of Grenada, on the 7th day of February, 1974, the Constitutional Instruments were handed over to the Honourable Prime Minister Sir Eric Matthew Gairy by Mr. Blaker, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the United Kingdom. Hansard of that meeting of Parliament discloses that there was no debate on
In conclusion, this evidence and other historic references demonstrate in no uncertain terms that our Constitution Reform has to be done properly in the interest of our people. Therefore, the insistence of the proponents of the current “patchwork” and “tampering” of the existing Constitution to satisfy their own hidden and partisanised agenda is seriously misleading and certainly begs the captioned question: “Is our Constitution Reform a genuine act or a “rachifi”?
John Anthony “Citizen” Rullow