Chief Minister’s Committee meeting in secret on new constitution for discussions with the British. As we all know, the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission held a number of meetings and consultations with the Anguillian public at home and abroad in the period January to August 2006. After a transparent process that involved an evolution of background papers that were published on the web and on paper distributed widely throughout the island, including a draft Report that was published and submitted for comment, a Final Report was made to Government. This Report collected together the consensus in
It was clear to all the participants in the Commission’s exercise that Anguillians wanted more self-government. If the truth be told, it was clear that what we wanted was full internal self-government. What that means is that we wanted
The Commission did not, however, recommend that
Government took the Commission’s recommendations to the public. The Chief Minister formed a Committee to lead the discussions. Some members of the Chief Minister’s Committee, who had refused to cooperate with the Commission’s 2006 work, suggested that it was time for
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s Committee authorised Lolita Richardson to come up with such a draft constitution. Her instruction from the Chief Minister was to ensure (1) that it incorporated all the recommendations of the Commission; (2) that it included such amendments as the government had come up with, and (3) that it contained a clear provision for full internal self-government. At her request, and for her assistance, I prepared a draft Constitution incorporating all the recommendations of the 2006 Commission’ Report. Each member of the Chief Minister’s Committee was given a copy. I can email a copy to anyone who asks for it.
Over two years have passed since the Commission made its Report in August 2006. Whatever draft or “template”, as it is now being called, has been prepared is not yet known to the public. Does it incorporate the recommendations of the Commission? Does it incorporate the amendments suggested by Ministers? Does it go for full internal self-government? Does it include all the checks and balances? Or, does it instead branch out on a frolic of its own? Does it come up with its own ideas? Does it attempt to revive ideas repudiated by Anguillians during the Commissions exercise? No one knows. Members of the Committee have been given only a paper copy of Mrs Richardson’s “template”. No electronic copy has ever been made available to members of the Committee, far less to the public. Only members of the Committee have seen the paper copy of the “template”. It is all still highly confidential.
Meanwhile, we understand the Chief Minister has announced that the British are coming in January or February of next year to commence negotiations on the new Constitution. That is in two or three months’ time. No doubt the British will then be told that the draft they will be presented with is the result of full public consultation, and that the majority of Anguillians are in support of it.
God help Anguilla!