…says Parliamentary Committee has never met
BY MICHAEL YOUNGE
Guyanese at home and within the Diaspora will have to hold their breath longer as the achievement of meaningful constitutional reform seems far-fetched, if not elusive, under the new A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government
This is the position of former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall who lambasted the Government for the manner in which it is dealing with the entire process relating to Constitutional Reform.
Nandlall, a current Central Executive Member of the Opposition Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic and a Member of Parliament, said that the Government has not even seen it fit to consult the Opposition on the process to be used in its quest to honour a very important campaign promise made to the electorate in the lead-up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections.
“As far as I am aware there is no institutional interaction between the Government and the PPP in relation to Constitutional Reform”, he iterated during an exclusive interview with INews.
He said that what was even more worrying is that the Parliamentary Standing Committee which was identified by the current Constitution as the body responsible for continuing the work of the Constitutional Reform Commission has never met under the new Government following the Commencement of the 11th Parliament.
“It is the responsibility of the Government as they control the Parliament to ensure that all Committees are up and functioning. In the 10th Parliament, then Opposition Leader David Granger was elected Chairman of that Committee. That Committee only met three times in three years”, he advised.
Nandlall expressed the view that it is necessary for there to be constant review of the Constitution as is done in other parts of the region and wider developed world. He also explained that the Herdmanston Accord of 1998 laid the framework for these reviews to take place on a continuum which led to the first wave of reforms during the years 1999, 2000 and 2001.
The former Attorney General was dismayed at the fact that the Government established its own Constitutional Reform Committee which he described as an “ad hoc body”.
According to him, even though that Committee completed its work and handed over a report to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, there was no consultation or stakeholder involvement in the process.
“…That report itself was not shared with stakeholders and was not even tabled in the Parliament. It is therefore difficult for us to even express an opinion because we have not seen the report. We don’t know what their Terms of Reference were and we don’t even know the scope of work done”, Nandlall remarked.