After more than three years in office, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has said that constitutional reform is still high on the Government’s agenda. Constitutional reform was a main campaign promise of coalition partners; the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC), during the 2015 elections campaign.
During his 2019 Budget presentation in the National Assembly today, Jordan announced that the bi-partisan committee on constitutional reform will complete its scrutiny of the constitutional reform bill. However, he did not say when.
Jordan also revealed that funds have been allocated for the Prime Minister to conduct a survey and consultation in collaboration with the University of Guyana, in order to raise awareness of the reform process and also to gauge the population’s understanding of the issue.
He also said that the Administration is in full support of PM Moses Nagamootoo to lead the government’s efforts in the reform process.
More than three years after making a bold proposal for a political solution through constitutional reform, the APNU/AFC Government is facing severe heat for not treating the issue of constitutional reform seriously as their leaders had promised.
The Coalition partners had committed to the establishment of a Constitution Reform Committee with a mandate to complete consultations, draft amendments and present same to the National Assembly for approval within nine months.
Government had indeed appointed a committee headed by Attorney and former AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes to examine the process for constitutional reform. While the committee presented its report to Government some months ago, no movement has been seen.
The report is still before the Cabinet and the process appears to have been stalled. This has led to speculation that the Government has lost interest in constitutional reform, even though it allocated $80 million to constitution reform and appointed PM Nagamootoo to lead the process.