JK Roberts: The key is in the hands of the people

Social Activist Joseph (JK) Roberts is determined to continue his public campaign in educating the Grenadian population about the move being made towards constitutional reform.

Grenada is currently on the road to constitutional reform with the recent passage of seven Constitutional Bills in the House of Representatives, and earlier this week it was the turn of the Upper House of Parliament to debate the bills.

The Bills will be taken to the people through a referendum, a date for which is yet to be named.

Roberts who was a guest on a radio programme last week Wednesday that is hosted by the grouping of Civil Society Organisations encouraged listeners to the programme to be open-minded and to seek clarification on the issues of the Bills, adding that the struggle continues.

During the debate of the Bills, Roberts staged a one-man public awareness campaign outside the Trade Centre where the Parliamentarians were meeting to press home the point that the bills should be revisited by the Constitutional Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC), which is leading the process.

He is disputing government’s claim that the majority of Grenadians are on board with having the reform.

“In reality, this is not the case, and so there is a great need for people to understand the issue,” he told the host of the programme.

Roberts believes the people of Grenada do not just have to hear about constitutional reform, but they have to be bonded with the process and to have an in-depth view and understanding of the issues.

He felt that there is no transparency, as well as enough consultation in terms of the involvement of the people.

The Social Advocate said the people need to understand what they are going to change, and how it would be done.

Roberts felt that there was no meaningful debate among the Parliamentarians when the Bills came up for their second and third readings.

“Seven Constitutional Amendment Bills had a second reading, and were passed by the one-sided House of Representatives around 21st June 2016. The Bills were merely presented and the political rituals followed,” he said.

According to Roberts, his job is to encourage the voting population to have an open mind, attend and listen to all meetings relating to constitutional reform, be registered, and participate in the referendum when it is called.

He also addressed the need for registered voters to take part in the process stating that they must not express displeasure by not voting.

“The mere fact that you don’t go out there and vote will cause to realise bad results that you don’t want. So to counter that you must be registered, and you must go out there and encourage other persons to go out there and vote,” he said.

Roberts pointed out that the key to the success or failure of the referendum is in the hands of the people as there may never be another opportunity for the people to participate in a referendum.

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