The process for reforming the Constitution of Grenada continues apace, generating considerable interest.
Submitted herewith are preliminary proposals designed to achieve primarily two objectives.
Objective 1: There will always be elected Opposition Members of Parliament
One such objective is that there will always be elected Opposition Members of Parliament. There will be no change to the first-past-the-post element of electing Constituency Representatives (‘C Reps’) in a general election:
Draft section 300(2)(a).
Proportional Representation Members of Parliament: Innovation
The innovation will be that there will be four elected seats in Parliament reserved for allocation in proportion to the percentage of the votes obtained in a general election: Draft sections 400(1) and 500 (1); these may be called the ‘Proportional Representation seats’, and their holders ‘Proportional Representation Members of Parliament’ (‘PR MPs’): Draft section 300(2)(b).
Each party will be able to submit a Party List containing prioritised persons from among whom PR MPs will be chosen: Draft section 400(2)-(7).
Each 25% block of votes in general election gets one(1) PR seat
For each twenty-five percent (25%) block of the valid votes obtained by a political party in a general election, a party will be awarded one (1) of the four seats reserved for PR MPs : Draft section 500(1).
Limit of two (2) PR seats for party winning general election
The party winning the majority of the C Rep seats shall in any event not be awarded more than two (2) PR seats, no matter how many votes it obtained in the election: Drafting section 500(2).
Other two (2) PR seats to Opposition
The leading opposition political party shall in any event be awarded two (2) PR seats, no matter how few votes it obtained in the election; the process continues down to the opposition party which obtained the least number of votes: Draft section 500(3)(4).
If no opposition political party accepts those two PR seats, independent candidates shall in any event be awarded the opposition two (2) PR seats, no matter how few votes they obtained in the election, the two highest independents being awarded those two seats : Draft section 500(5).
Allocation of PR seats will be done by the Elections and Boundaries Commission: Draft section 500(6).
Objective 2: There will always be a Leader of the Opposition
The other objective of the enclosed proposals is that there will always be a Leader of the Opposition.
Since in all probability there will be at least two Opposition Members of Parliament, it follows that a Leader of the Opposition is assured. In appointing a Leader of the Opposition, the Governor-General will give priority to an Opposition C Rep; if there is no Opposition C Rep, an Opposition PR MP will be appointed: Draft section 600(4).
The draft provisions are given section numbers, 300, 400, 500, 600, only for identification purposes; not to indicate that the new constitution will have such section numbers.
I cannot over-emphasise that the enclosed proposals are only preliminary; far from being hard and fast. However, the fundamentals of the proposals are structurally sound constitutionally.