Additional constitutional recommendations sent to Government

Robert Branch – very tight-lipped about the new proposals

Robert Branch – very tight-lipped about the new proposals

Coming out of the October 15th National Consultation on Constitution Reform, another set of recommendations have been sent to the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government for its consideration.

The submissions were made by the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) that is headed by Dr. Francis Alexis, widely considered as the foremost legal practitioner on the island on constitutional matters.

Earlier in the year, the committee had presented Cabinet with twelve recommendations to be included on the ballot paper for the planned referendum expected early next year.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of Nazim Burke has just stopped short of announcing that it would call for a “no-vote” at the referendum if some other meaningful recommendations were not included in the balloting.

Congress is seeking to have six recommendations included on the ballot for consideration on referendum day.

These items include fixed date for General Elections, two terms for the Prime Minister, one chamber parliament, and a parliamentary committee to select the Government General, proportional representation, and an official Opposition Leader at all times.

Congress advocated term limits for the Prime Minister, a fixed date for the holding of general elections and a one house chamber in Parliament instead.

Senior legal adviser in the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Robert Branch who made the disclosure about the additional recommendations being sent to government for consideration, has declined to identify them.

Branch who was a guest on the GBN television programme, “Beyond The Headlines”, said Cabinet is now in the process of considering the new proposals sent to the body and was not at liberty to disclose the details of the additional recommendations.

According to him following the National Consultation at the Grenada Trade Centre, the Alexis-led CRAC considered very seriously the input of the people who attended the consultation and saw the need to take on board some of the recommendations made at the forum.

“It is the Cabinet of Ministers that will make the final determination. Cabinet is in the process of looking at those recommendations, and they have not decided and made a final decision of those recommendations so I cannot comment on them but once Cabinet makes a decision it will be known, “he said.

Branch noted that when the 12 recommendations were presented initially to Cabinet, no public statement was made on the issue until Cabinet itself made the announcement.

He said the new recommendations presented to Cabinet are consistent with what is happening now where CRAC has to wait until Cabinet makes a decision on whether or not the new recommendations will be endorsed.

Branch disclosed that as a result of a donors’ conference that took place in Barbados last month, a team from the United Nations Systems came into Grenada this week to conduct consultations with the various stakeholders with a view to making the final recommendations of what level of assistance they can offer to the committee.

He believes that the referendum for the constitution would take place sometime in the second quarter of 2015.

Everyone who are registered to vote for General Elections will be eligible to vote in the referendum on the issues.

The recommendations will only go through if they attract the support of two-thirds of the persons who voted in the referendum as well as a similar majority in Parliament.

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