Political Leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Senator Nazim Burke has promised to undertake and complete meaningful Constitutional reform in the country, if the party is elected into office in the next general election.
“As stated in the policy agenda, (which was launched in September), the NDC will undertake and complete the reform of the Grenada Constitution, so as to create a national Constitution, which reflects the aspirations of the people, has the tangible inputs of the people and build a better bond between the people and the Constitution,” he said.
Sen. Burke made the declaration last week Friday at a press conference called hours after the electorate rejected all even bills voted upon in the November 24 Referendum.
The Congress leader spoke of NDC giving a commitment to using a different approach towards Constitutional reform, through the establishment of “a Constituent Assembly,” which he said “will be dissolved once the Constitutional reform process is over.”
Sen. Burke told reporters that the Constituent Assembly will be created “after comprehensive consultations on the Grenada Constitution with the citizens of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique at home and in the Diaspora, (to) allow for the people to have a say as to who will guide the Constitutional reform process.”
He said the body will comprise “people elected by the electorate themselves to guide and be in charge of Constitutional reform,” which he was confident will prevent the Cabinet from making decisions on the reform process on its own.
“So the Cabinet is not just going to have the opportunity to say yea or nay when a committee of handpicked individuals brings their recommendations to them,” he declared.
“We (NDC) will ensure that the reform process adequately and progressively addresses all of the gaps and ambiguities identified in the 1985, 2006 and 2010 Constitution review commissions and bodies,” he said.
Congress’ Deputy Political Leader, Joseph Andall, who also addressed reporters on the failed referendum pointed out that one of the main ingredients to achieving success at the polls is to achieve national consensus on the issues.
He said an NDC administration will seek to achieve this by demonstrating that “the government will be acting in the national interest of the country and not simply pursuing narrow partisan goals.”
He added that achieving national consensus is a process that requires “trust” and that “the best way to earn thrust is by action.
“We have to demonstrate that we are serious about building that consensus and gain the trust of the people. When that is achieved and as part of getting there, we have to engage the people at all levels at all times,” he said.
“So once the people get the sense that an NDC administration is acting in the national interest, is making genuine efforts to be inclusive then overtime that consensus will develop…It is not something that will come overnight because in the recent history of our country things have become quite polarising,” he added.
According to Andall, Congress has “already taken the bold step of trying to depolarise and detribalise the politics in Grenada by (rebranding the party logo) embracing all three colours of the national flag.”
He said this move is a “step in the right direction (as it will) give the people a sense of inclusion.”
Congress is preparing itself for the next general elections due constitutionally in 2018.
Political observers were predicting a poll around May next year but are now suggesting that due to the outcome of the vote in the Referendum, PM Mitchell might consider putting back the national poll just before the annual Carnival in August.
NNP pundits are still maintaining that despite the rejection of the bills in the referendum the ruling party is still confident that Grenadians will give them another clean sweep of all 15 seats in the upcoming election.