28 March, 2007

Constitutional Reform

Constitutional Reform.

It was an honour and a privilege to have been invited by the Members of the House of Assembly to lead them through the Report of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission delivered to the Governor in August 2005. There was a total of three sessions held at the Limestone Bay café during the month of March. Each of the three sessions lasted half a day. The discussion was lively, energetic, and friendly, with much give and take. At the end of the process, I can say with certainty that the members know what the issues are.

The members of the House now have the self-imposed obligation to go to their constituents throughout the island and seek their views. The team from London is coming for a first visit in just over three months. There is not much time left. The British team will want to know what Anguilla wants by way of reform. We must be prepared to answer in a sensible way. The Commissioners have consulted the public, but now the London team will want to know from government and members of the House what are the wishes of the Anguillians. The members of the House have promised that they will hold a series of public meetings in all the political constituencies of the island with a view to consulting with the people prior to meeting with the team from London.

In all this work, it will be important to bear two overriding factors in mind. I am concerned that there is a small but vocal group of persons with an agenda of their own. Maybe they have their own political ambitions. My fear is that they are intent on sabotaging the process of reform. It will require determination and self-confidence on the part of all Anguillians to ward off any coming assault on the reform process.

The second important factor is that when the members of the House meet with their constituents they have an obligation to remember that they are there to seek the views of the public. The Anguillian negotiating team will draw strength in London from knowing that they are carrying the demands of the Anguillian public to Whitehall. No one is particularly interested in knowing, for example, what Don Mitchell or Kenneth Harrigan thinks about an optimum size for the House of Assembly. Each one of us is entitled to our views. But, those are not the important views. It is the consensus view that emerges from the series of public meetings that is the only important one. I am looking forward to hearing soon that the public meetings are about to begin.

1 comment:

  1. From Government's Website, a Press Release dated 26 April 2007:

    Members of the House of Assembly in Anguilla in keeping with their commitment to openness, transparency, good governance and accountability will hold a series of Town-Hall commencing at 7:00pm throughout various constituencies beginning Monday, April 16th, 2007. Please listen to the media and check your local newspapers and articles to know when a meeting will be held in your immediate area. However, you are welcome to attend meetings out of your area.


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