16 September, 2010
Having the Constitution give absolute and dictatorial powers to one man is the opposite of providing for good governance. A read of the draft Constitution reveals an intention to give the Governor almost total power over the administration. He is controlled only by secret and unaccountable instructions from the FCO. This secrecy and lack of accountability are then multiplied by giving him associated discretionary powers.
The result is an anti-democratic Constitution. The system it sets up is not conducive to good governance. It is the polar opposite of integrity, accountability and transparency. In particular,
(a) The section 21 use of his discretionary and reserve powers is not subject to democratic accountability. The draft Constitution should be amended to provide that, except where otherwise instructed by the Secretary of State, he ought first to consult the Cabinet and be subject to review by the High Court in the exercise of his discretionary and reserve powers;
(b) Integrity, accountability and transparency require that the section 26 power to dispose of Crown Land should be subject to a resolution of the Legislature;
(c) The section 28 power of pardon should be exercised on the advice of a Mercy Committee;
(d) The section 87 power to grant or withhold pensions, gratuities and allowances ought to be exercised on the advice of the Public Service Commission;
(e) The section 100 power to appoint the Auditor General is exercised after consultation with the Public Accounts Committee. Greater accountability and transparency would be achieved if this were to be done after consultation with the Public Service Commission and the Integrity Commission;