PM – You’re measured by your own yardstick

Grenada went through a Constitutional Referendum almost two years ago which was held on November 24, 2016.

The two-third majority that was needed to make this referendum successful failed because it was struck down by the people.

There were a number of circumstances why it failed – one being lack of effective consultations with the people.

I have always lived by the notion that “a man must be a man and admit his mistakes but if he continues to cover it up, in the long run it will only create serious consequences for him latter.”
Grenadians must not be absent-minded and they must not forget what the amended bills were back in 2016.

If the Prime Minister saw the need to introduce the (7) Proposed Amendments in the last referendum please ask yourself why the Prime Minister didn’t find those bills important in reintroducing them again in the upcoming referendum?

We need answers and clarification from him. Why single out the CCJ and leave the rest behind knowing the amount of time that was put into it by various officials and organisations that came together collectively as one NGOs and CSOs, scholars of jurisprudence, politicians and concerned citizens of this beautiful nation of ours?

The (7) Proposed Amendments on the ballot paper were as follow:

(1) The Caribbean Court of Justice to become the final court of appeal (as opposed to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom); renaming the Supreme Court of Grenada and the West Indies Associated States as the “Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court”; introducing a code of conduct for civil servants; changing the oath of allegiance so that allegiance is sworn to Grenada instead of the Queen. (CCJ and Other Justice Related Matters).

(2) Creation of an Elections and Boundaries Commission to replace the Constituency Boundaries Commission and the Supervisor of Elections. (Elections and Boundaries Commission).

(3) Allow the leader of the losing party with the most votes to be appointed Leader of the Opposition and to sit in the House of Representatives if the second-placed party fails to win a seat in a general election. (Ensuring a Leader of the Opposition).

(4) Introduce fixed dates for elections, with the caveat that a vote of no confidence may trigger an early election. (Fixed Date for Elections).

(5) Changing the official name of the State of Grenada to “Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”. (Name of State).

(6) An expansion of the list of fundamental rights and freedoms. (Rights and Freedoms).

(7) Limiting the Prime Minister to three consecutive terms in office. (Term of Office of Prime Minister).

On Tuesday, 22 November 2016, Dr. The Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister gave a National Address to the nation two days before the referendum and this is what he said, and I quote:

“This process has always been about how we deepen the rights of Grenadians; expand the people’s access to justice; build a stronger platform for greater economic sustainability; develop the process of democracy; strengthen the concept of governance and eliminate opportunities for political excesses.”

He went on to state: “Referenda like these do not happen regularly.

For my generation, and even the one after me, it might be the first and only opportunity that we get to have a direct say in amending a document that was handed down to us, even before we had colour television or access to the internet.

Those two excerpts from his 2016 national address were only a HOGWASH. I have reviewed it thoroughly and there is no other conclusion that comes to mind.

The PM has implicated himself because of what he has said in that 2016 National Address to the nation.

I want to know what could’ve inspired him now to go at it again almost two years after the first historic one?

I’m now questioning myself because of this level of deception that has been portrayed by him to the people of Grenada. If so then it means there wasn’t any merit in his 2016 National Address.

We all need to examine what he said back then and see if any of it applies to what he is trying to do today with the upcoming referendum.

Mr. Prime Minister, you’re measured by your own yardstick. All you have control over is your own performance, your own decisions.

I want to know what is so special about the CCJ? It’s based in Trinidad for over (12) years now and the legal system there don’t use it as their final court, then something must be definitely wrong. I can only speculate but I don’t have all the answers.

I have two questions for the Prime Minister:

(1) Dr. Mitchell you being all wise and intelligent, why didn’t you put the Proposed Amendments on the General Elections ballot paper?

(2) Why couldn’t you save taxpayers this huge bill that will be incurred as a result of this second referendum?

The CCJ cannot be the number one priority for Grenadians at this time and that Proposed Amendment to the constitution needs to be placed on back burner for now.

Mr. Prime Minister, you need to reconsider and go back to the drawing board because it’s not too late in doing so.

Sir, take advice and reconsider your decisions about the CCJ despite the outcry from individuals who care deeply about this country.

I can recall back in 2009 Vincentians rejected in a referendum, proposed changes to the constitution, including replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ as the nation’s highest court.
Our very own Francis Alexis was very instrumental in that process because he was retained by Dr Ralph Gonsalves to lead the process. I have great respect for this constitutional guru but he

failed twice. I’m wondering if he is willing to fail the third time around.

Former Prime Minister of St Vincent, Sir James Mitchell has always been an advocate and still is today in retaining the London based Privy Council and he is against replacing It with CCJ as their final court. Justice Adrian Saunders who is now President of CCJ is also Vincentian by birth.

Mr. Prime Minister, if you continue on the same trajectory as last time it will be more failed legacies added to your book of failures.

Always remember a hurry bird never build a good nest.

As a healthcare professional I know Mental disorders are common in old age but frequently remains undetected and untreated and induce functional disability, disturb rehabilitation.

I’m urging you to take your time and reconsider if you want to do a better job than in the first referendum.

I’m of the opinion that a constituent assembly should be established and they should be charged with the responsibility of putting things
together. This referendum shouldn’t be about one man and his egos who is seeking to take revenge by abusing his powers in undermining others.

This is a matter of national interest because it concerns all Grenadians living at home and abroad. The decisions that we make today can either make us or break us tomorrow.

I don’t believe those vital decisions should rest on the shoulders of one man and his administration. We can either reinvent the wheel and continue on the part of doing things haphazardly or we can either become a progressive nation that we all can be proud of.

This is the time to reintroduce some of the (7) Proposed Amendments in the upcoming referendum but let it be done properly so therefore everyone can benefit from the process of Constitutional Referendum.

We all know how Caribbean politics can influence and infiltrate everything including decision making and why do you think CCJ will be excluded?

Brian J.M. Joseph

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