04 July, 2009


Attorney-General denies having a copy of the draft new constitution. All Anguilla has wanted to see the draft new Constitution prepared by Lolita Davis Richardson. We have been waiting patiently to see what is in this draft.

I have been given a copy of what I am told is the final draft. It is filled with errors so I have my doubts. It contains barely one half of the recommendations of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Commission. It contains some proposals that Anguillians soundly rejected. It is severely defective in many respects. Mrs Richardson should be ashamed if this draft is what the Chief Minister presents to London. It needs to be cleaned up and corrected by a legal draftsman in the A-G’s Chambers.

In the 16 February issue of The Anguillian Newspaper we saw the story of Mrs Richardson officially handing over the final draft to the government of Anguilla. She handed it over to the Chief Minister, the Attorney-General and the Minister of Finance. Those three had been part of the drafting team that spent over six months reviewing and finalizing this draft. They were well aware of what was in it.

All that was left was for the Attorney-General to publish the draft. The comments of the public would be sought. Members of the House of Assembly would debate the draft and come up with their own recommendations. The Chief Minister’s Committee would meet and hold discussions with the British Negotiating Team. Looming high over this process is the need first to publish the draft. Before anything is finalized the public needs to be given an opportunity to comment. Most people will not have anything to contribute. But, they all expect to be asked first.

February passed. March passed. April passed. May passed. June passed. We are now in July. That is nearly a half a year since the draft has been officially presented. Nothing.

On Tuesday 3 July the Chief Minister held his weekly press conference. He spoke about going this weekend to Guyana for the Caricom conference. When he returns he leaves on Monday for London. He is taking a team to discuss economic issues. He is also going to discuss the new constitution. The Anguillian Newspaper of 3 July reports what he said at page 15, column 2:

He reported that

while in London the

delegation would

meet briefly with the

Constitutional Review

Team to discuss the

new draft constitution,

copies of which would

be circulated shortly.”

That concerns me. What business does the Chief Minister have discussing a new constitution when it has not yet been shown to us the public.

So I wrote to the Attorney-General asking for a copy. I told him I want to comment on it. He has now replied. He writes that he does not have a copy. It is still with the Chief Minister’s office. That means that not even the Attorney-General has been given a copy. Not for the public to see, anyway.

My fear is that, just like the 1982 Constitution, we in Anguilla will see it one week before it comes into effect.

I wonder how the people of Anguilla will accept being treated in that way.

In the coming days, I will make my comments on the draft that was sneaked to me.


  1. The Chief Minister was on the radio several months ago and said this document was then available from the Attorney General's Chambers. I wondered at the time how much I would have to pay to get a copy, and why it couldn't be posted on the government website.

    I looked just now to see what it says about the Constitution on gov.ai. I found http://constitution.gov.ai/ - a constitution blog. Great! But there's been nothing posted there for 13 months.

    The last posting was by "Lolita Davis, Constitution Commissioner". This abrasive woman is the "Commissioner" of our Constitution? If I hadn't seen this with my own eyeballs I wouldn't believe it.

    Tell me this isn't some kind of bad joke.

  2. We should tell our government, the governor, the foriegn office, the queen if needed, that we want a referendum to accept any changes to our constitution. A simple YES or NO to the changes should be understood by all.

  3. It is really disheartening to see that in this day and age that we ,AXANS, are treated as inferior subjects of the CM and his United Front minisiters.To discuss a new or amended constitution without public inclusion is utter stupidity.I guess that they will give the UK
    Gov't the impression that they are merely carrying out the wishes of the Anguillian people.Such hogwash needs to stop ,that is why it is so important that we go to the polls and remove them from power.Vote for change APP.I know that I will be casting my vote for them.

  4. I cannot believe what "THEY" are trying to do as far as the new Constitution is concerned.

  5. Is the FCO deaf, dumb AND indifferent??? - Scotty


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