Nov 14, 2020 Editorial
Kaieteur News – With elections resolved and the various players settling into their respective roles, there is not silence on one issue, that of shared governance. In the height of the post-elections fervour, there were proposals of various dynamics with one interesting ‘communique’ suggesting that there be some system of rotating the President and Prime Ministerial positions. As well meaning as the best of them might have sounded, these proposals tended to gloss over two very important things.
The very first one is a technical issue – the law. Any proposal for shared governance has to have a legal basis and the Constitution as it currently stands does not provide for any of the measures proposed. Any arrangement that seeks to replace the current zero-sum game that is not built upon actual Constitutional reform is one that cannot get off the ground – even the best configuration would be simply a house of feathers built upon drifting sand. It is the law that gives structure to government, not bullet points in a Powerpoint presentation. Wishful thinking does not automatically translate to the sanction of executive fiat – only laws, passed by a legitimately installed legislature, can do that, and a legitimate assembly is only installed, under very specific rules, according to votes gained in an election.
Which brings us to the next issue – respect for the law. From its reaction to the No Confidence Vote, which was successfully passed on the basis of the basic constitutional provisions that allow such a vote and the consequences flowing therefrom, the Granger administration had shown an increasingly shameless disregard for the law. It used litigation to carve out breathing room for unconstitutional actions. Shared governance has to be premised, before anything else, on shared trust, the sort that cannot be afforded to any political leadership that was actively engaged in seeking to overturn the will of the people.
Curiously only after the Coalition decisively lost the election, there is no reference to a very specific document, APNU’s 2011 manifesto, one which promised, inter alia:
“* Undertaking constitutional reform to remove the scope for abuses and excesses carried out with impunity by the Executive and by the President, in particular. Part of the solution lies in reform of the National Assembly to ensure checks on the majority in the Legislature and on the Executive so that the interests of the nation as a whole and the interests of substantial minorities are taken into account.
* Ensuring that all citizens and residents are equal under the law and that the institutional requirements intended to facilitate the accountability of all arms of the State are effective.
* Separating and protecting the Judiciary and Constitutional Offices from the Executive reforming and strengthening the Police Force.”
That document promised the end to winner-take-all politics and “inviting all eligible and willing parties to participate in the Government on the basis of the seats they acquire.”
The talk of power sharing has to be taken out of the realm of convenient and comprised conjecture and into that of principle and practicality. The law allows for practical steps towards Constitutional Reform. At this juncture, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional Reform needs to be activated. When this is done, the Constitutional Reform Consultative Commission Bill needs to be reconsidered, tabled in Parliament, passed and then signed into law.
That legally established Commission would then be the lawful authority for canvassing the opinions of citizens on what the new contours of a viable system of more inclusive governance is going to look like. After this, a new Constitution is drafted and signed into law either via a two-thirds majority in Parliament or via a referendum. There is no other pathway at present.
Dec 05, 2020ESPNcricinfo – The first ODI between South Africa and England in Cape Town has been called off, less than an hour before the toss. As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the postponement related to a...
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 05, 2020
Dec 04, 2020
Kaieteur News – Yesterday, I described the collective mind of 60 persons who signed a letter in the newspaper demanding... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – Human rights and constitutional violations in Haiti have been ignored for too... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]