Details have emerged about the 12 issues that the Dr. Francis Alexis-led Constitutional Review Committee has voted unanimously upon to submit to government in keeping with its commitment to make some changes to the 1974 Independence Constitution.
A date has been set in March by the 18-month old ruling New National Party (NNP) government for a referendum involving the people to vote on the proposed changes.
Under the laws of Grenada, the island’s Constitution can only be changed by a two-thirds majority vote of the people in a referendum, and a similar two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.
The most fundamental change being contemplated is abolishing appeals to the British Privy Council in London and making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the final appellate court for the island.
The Alexis committee submitted its report to government last month after a lengthy period of islandwide consultation to get the views of a broad-cross section of the population.
Following are the recommendations of the Alexis committee to government on the issues that should be put to the people in the March referendum:
(1). THAT THERE BE INSTITUTED AS THE FINAL COURT OF APPEAL FOR GRENADA THE APPELLATE JURISDICTION OF THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE ESTABLISHED BY THE AGREEMENT ESTABLISHING THE CARIBBEAN COURT OF JUSTICE, SIGNED BY GRENADA ON 14 FEBRUARY 2001, IN SUBSTITUTION FOR HER MAJESTY IN COUNCIL.
(2). THAT THE NAME OF THE STATE BE CHANGED FROM GRENADA TO GRENADA CARRIACOU AND PETITE MARTINIQUE.
(3). THAT THERE BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE EXPRESSION ‘CHIEF OF POLICE’ THE EXPRESSION ‘COMMISSIONER OF POLICE’ . :
(4). THAT IT BE STATED THAT THERE SHALL BE RECOGNISED RESPECTED AND ADHERED TO AS FUNDAMENTAL ESSENTIALS OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE, THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY, THE SEPARATION OF POWERS PARTICULARLY FOR PROTECTING THE JUDICIARY FROM THE PARLIAMENT AND THE EXECUTIVE, AND THE RULE OF LAW.
(5). THAT THERE BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE EXPRESSION ‘PETIT MARTINIQUE’ THE EXPRESSION ‘PETITE MARTINIQUE’.
(6). THAT THERE BE INSTITUTED AN INDEPENDENT ELECTIONS AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION TO TAKE OVER AND COMBINE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS, S 35, AND THE CONSTITUENCY BOUNDARIES COMMISSION. SS 55-56.
(7). THAT THERE BE SUBSTITUTED FOR THE EXPRESSION ‘SUPREME COURT OF GRENADA AND THE WEST INDIES ASSOCIATED STATES’ THE EXPRESSION ‘EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT’.
(8). THAT IT BE SPELT OUT THAT NO PERSON SHALL BE QUALIFIED TO HOLD OR ACT IN THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY-GENERAL UNLESS HE OR SHE IS ENTITLED TO PRACTISE AS AN ATTORNEY-AT-LAW IN GRENADA.
(9). THAT THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL BE REFINED
(10). THAT BROADER RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL, AND RELATED DUTIES OF THE STATE BE PROVIDED FOR; SET OUT IN A NEW CHAPTER 1A ON DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY
(11). THAT THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE BE CHANGED SO THAT ONE BE REQUIRED TO BEAR TRUE ALLEGIANCE, NOT TO ‘HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND, HER HEIRS AND SUCCESSORS’, BUT INSTEAD TO ‘GRENADA’.
(12). THAT CERTAIN PERSONS SHALL CONDUCT THEMSELVES IN SUCH A WAY AS NOT TO PLACE THEMSELVES AS TO HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, OR TO COMPROMISE THE FAIR EXERCISE OF THEIR FUNCTIONS, OR TO USE THEIR PUBLIC OFFICE FOR PRIVATE GAIN, OR TO ALLOW THE INTEGRITY OF THEMSELVES OR THEIR OFFICE TO BE CALLED IN QUESTION. THESE INCLUDE THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL, MINISTERS, MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT, THE VARIOUS COMMISSIONS ESTABLISHED BY OR INCORPORATED INTO THE CONSTITUTION.