10 September, 2010

Montserrat 8

There are other objectionable provisions in the draft Constitution that are familiar to us in Anguilla.  The section 51 restriction on Montserratians who have travelled, and been so lucky and enterprising as to have acquired a second passport, from being able to be nominated and elected to the Legislature is most objectionable.  It repeats the provision in the old Constitution.  One would have thought that preparing a brand new Constitution would have been the opportunity to remove such an anachronism.  It should form no part of a modern Overseas Territory Constitution.
Section 81 and the following sections set up a Public Service Commission, but it is a powerless institution.  It has the right to consult only on public service appointments and on matters of discipline.
No FCO-appointed Governor or his deputy should have total power over the appointment and discipline of public servants in a British Overseas Territory.  He should be obliged to follow the advice of a PSC, except, perhaps, for the highest ranks, where consultation with the Chief Minister might be appropriate.  Similarly for teachers and the police force. 
I note that section 84 expresses a hope that one day a Public Service Act might one day be passed that will oblige the Governor to act on the advice of the PSC.  Such a hope is not good enough.  The Constitution should require it to be done.

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