By Linda Straker
“If you don’t get all you want now, it’s not the end of the process — the process doesn’t stop with one review,” is the advice from lawyer Anselm Clouden, making a plea for the National Democratic Congress to reconsider returning as a member of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee.
Speaking in his capacity as a concerned citizen, Clouden said that he cannot understand why the NDC political leader, and what appears to be the executive, could have taken a decision to remove themselves from the CRA Committee.
Describing the action as a grievous error, Clouden said that constitution reform is a national conversation that does not involve one’s political belief or bias. “This national conversation is not partisan, and that is what it should be — non partisan. It’s not about Keith Mitchell or Nazim Burke, it’s about Grenada,” said Clouden, who is of the opinion that the action of the NDC can negatively affect the outcome.
“This is a decision of the executive, but what you will find is that the rank and file of the party will take their cue from the leaders, and if the leaders are against it, this will affect the outcome of Grenada reforming its constitution,” said Clouden, who believes that the recommendations are good starting points for reform.
“I know the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique will have a great sense of pride and joy to have that included on the passport… this inclusion, although looking very minor, will mean something big for residents of Carriacou and Petite Martinique,” he added.
“You may very well find that donors who want to contribute to the process will now be hesitant, because the main opposition is absenting itself — they should not absent themselves… this decision is grievously faulty,” he said.
Earlier in the month, Nazim Burke, the Political Leader of the NDC, wrote to Dr Francis Alexis, chairman of the CRA Committee, and public announced during a news conference that NDC will withdraw its participation from the grouping which represents a wide cross-section of the public, including trade unions, civil society, the media, and religious communities.
The letter accused the committee of not applying best practice in the process, and noted dissatisfaction with some of the developments and decisions taken by the Committee. In his response, Dr Alexis called on the NDC to reconsider its action.
Clouden is of the strong view that Grenada will be in a disadvantaged position if the referendum fails to secure the mandate from the people to reform the constitution.
The Committee, which was established in January 2015, has had a number of island-wide consultations with regard to getting the consensus from the people in proceeding forward. Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod says that the referendum for the constitution reform, is tentatively set for October.