20 July, 2007

Cabinet Meetings

Constitutional Discussions 9: Cabinet Meetings. The UK has an “unwritten” Constitution. Citizens of the UK cannot rely on a document called a Constitution. That does not mean they do not have a Constitution. They have a highly developed Constitution. It consists of various separate laws and parts of laws, and, more importantly, various conventions and practices that are as fundamental and as binding as if they had been written in a document. Anguilla, like most of our West Indies, has a democracy that is very new. Adult suffrage only dates back to the 1950s. We have very few conventions. Where they exist, they are not yet well established. We cannot rely on our leaders to always do the right thing. It is important to put down in writing some of the rules that in other, more developed, countries they keep as conventions.

One of these important rules is that Cabinet must meet frequently to discuss the affairs of government. The practice in Anguilla is for the meeting to take place at the Governor’s office every Thursday morning. The Governor sends out the notice and in theory has the power to set the Agenda. The Commission recommended at paragraph 67 of its Report that the section be amended. Anguillians would prefer our Constitution to provide for regular weekly meetings of a Cabinet, to be summoned by the Premier, and with the obligation that he must do so if two or more Ministers require it.

Members of the Assembly disagreed. They prefer to leave the provision as it is. They are happy for the Governor to be responsible for summoning Cabinet meetings.

God alone knows why!

1 comment:

  1. Constitutional law expert Nat Hodge states on the front page of today's "Anguillian" that "Government appears to be on a firm footing in preparation for the upcoming talks with the British Government".

    So it's all right then.


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