Cabinet is now making a move to review and deliberate on the report of recommendations on constitutional reform; some two months after the document was handed over to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo receives the interim report from the Convener of the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform Nigel Hughes
Nagamootoo received the interim report from the Convener of the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform (SCCR) Nigel Hughes on January 2.
Chairing the post-Cabinet press briefing on Wednesday last, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman disclosed that the document is still with the Prime Minister, however, he assured that Cabinet will certainly set aside time this month to deliberate on the proposals.
Constitutional reform has been a very hot campaign issue. In its elections manifesto, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition touted a number of constitutional reforms including presidential powers, sexual orientation and the electoral system.
“The Constitution, in its current form, does not serve the best interest of Guyana or its people. Within three months of taking up office, APNU/AFC will appoint a Commission to amend the Constitution with the full participation of the people. The new Constitution will put the necessary checks and balances in place to consolidate our ethos of liberal democracy. Freedom of speech, reduction of the power of the President and the Bill of Rights will be enshrined in the document,” read an excerpt from the manifesto.
Nagamootoo had also declared during an elections campaign in Vreed-en-Hoop that too much power is concentrated on one person’s hands.
Meanwhile, the Constitutional Reform Steering Committee comprises of former Director of Transparency International and Attorney Gino Persaud, Professor Harold Lutchman, former Magsitrate Geeta Chandan-Edmond, former Chief Economist at the Central Bank Haslyn Parris, and is chaired by Attorney and AFC Executive Member Nigel Hughes.
This Committee was established by the subcommittee on Parliamentary Affairs reportedly without consultation from the parliamentary Opposition.
Nagamootoo, who is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Affairs Sub-committee, will now have to take the report to Cabinet.
Thereafter, a constitutional reform commission will come on-stream and it is this committee which will effect the changes to the Constitution.
Government promised that they will have consultations with civil society and the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic before making any constitutional reforms.