Opposition-aligned attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall says that while constitutional reform is always requisite to meet the dynamism and exigencies of an evolving society, it is not the panacea that so many in Guyana perceive it to be.
He said that the greatest and largest democracies in the world, including India, the United States of America and Canada, have “rarely” altered their respective Constitutions since independence, though they would have been confronted with enormous governmental, democratic and constitutional challenges over the decades.
“The United Kingdom presents us with over 200 years of democratic government without a written Constitution,” he said.
He noted also that a brief overview of the Commonwealth will confirm that Guyana’s Constitution has undergone more reforms than perhaps any other.
“The solution is not and cannot be, merely, constitutional reform. What we are confronted with in Guyana is a colossal attack on constitutionalism, the rule of law and democratic ethos – all rolled up in one. Therefore, unless there is a preparedness to comply with the Constitution, to abide by the rules of democracy and to respect the rule of law, then whatever the provisions of the Constitution are, it will continue to be trampled upon by those who do not embrace constitutionality,” he argued.
Nandlall said that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)’s ruling on the no-confidence motion for the constitutional actors to discharge their duties with integrity falling on “deaf ears”, is but a stark reminder of this reality.
“In the circumstances, there is sufficient empirical data to impel to the conclusion that constitutional reform will not engender constitutionality. Indeed, we run the risk of becoming a nation of serial constitutional reforms attracting an unending cycle of constitutional violations,” he said.
Nandlall notes that a demand for unreserved and unqualified constitutional compliance needs to be exhibited before there is a move towards constitutional reform.