The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has partnered with a team of lawyers to host a series of public education sessions on the seven Bills to be voted on in the October 27 Referendum.
Congress has in the past taken issue with the manner in which the Constitution reform process is unfolding and expressed concern for what has been described as inadequate consultations and dissemination of related information in the public domain.
NDC General Secretary, Glen Noel told reporters Monday that the party is committed to Constitutional Reform despite the manner in which the exercise was conducted by the Francis Alexis-led committee.
“We have had our issues with the process and the final outcome. We stated very early that we felt that the people were not involved as they should be and were not given a chance to properly evaluate the recommendations before they were properly laid before us…and we stated that very clearly but we have also stated that the party is also committed to constitutional reform,” he said.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly press conference held by the party, Noel said the move by the NDC comes in response to the cry of the people for more information on the issue.
“We represent not ourselves (but) interest of the Grenadian massive and we discovered that many persons did not know much about the Referendum process, he remarked.
Noel pointed to a survey conducted for the NDC which suggested that over 49% of the population are not aware of the referendum process and were not certain if they would vote or not because they are not sufficiently informed.
“If the members of our party and the general public are saying that they need more information to make an informed decision… as a political organisation, we felt that we have a duty to do just that,” he said.
Last year, the NDC pulled out its membership from the Constitution Advisory Committee (CRAC) indicating that “after due care and careful consideration of what has transpired and continues to occur in the ongoing Constitution reform process we of the NDC have determined that we cannot be of no further practical assistance.”
“We have gotten past that,” Noel said, adding, “What we are doing now is addressing the fact that there is a huge gap in the sense that much people are not informed.”
Noel affirmed, “there are other issues that we would collaborate with other persons on but this is what we are working with at the moment.”
With the announcement of Referendum Day as October 27, CRAC is now intensifying its sensitisation of the process and Congress is also urging Grenadians to vote with their conscience.
The NDC’s first public education session was held last week Saturday evening at the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS), Tanteen, St. George, followed by sessions this week at the Grand Anse Roman Catholic School, Grand Anse and the Birch Grove Community Centre in St Andrew.
Another session is carded for 7.00 p.m. this Friday at the Mc Donald College in Sauteurs, St. Patrick; Monday, October 10 at Spice Basket, Beaulieu, St. George and Thursday, October 13 at the Corinth Government School in St. David at 7.00 pm.
The first session was facilitated by Attorneys-at-Law Claudette Joseph and James ‘Jimmy’ Bristol.
Bristol reportedly left the island last weekend for a one-month stint as a temporary judge in one of the OECS territories.