The coalition administration, in particular, Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, has faced scathing criticisms over the last three years for failing to ensure Constitutional Reform was delivered given his party’s promise to do so on the 2015 election campaign trail.
But Nagamootoo who was in charge of this task, recently noted that there was only so much he could have done. In his column, “My Turn” which is published in the Chronicle Newspaper, Nagamootoo said that he did what in law should be done, that is, to table in the National Assembly, a Bill to set up a Constitutional and Consultative Constitutional Reform Commission.
After its first reading, Nagamootoo said the parliamentary political parties agreed to send the Bill to the House’s bi-partisan committee. Nagamootoo stressed that the committee did not, for some three years, conclude its examination of the Bill. The Prime Minister said that the facts will show that the APNU+AFC Government had taken an initiative but noted that there is no evidence that the opposition wanted to review or reform the Constitution — at least not now.
In a society where any major reform has to receive the support of two-thirds of all the elected members of the National Assembly, Nagamootoo said it would be futile to get any such changes until the government and the opposition fully buy into the process. He said that this has to await the 2020 elections, after which, constitutional reform would be placed on the front burner.
Nagamootoo said, “For me, constitutional reform is not a political slogan. It is not a protest note on a placard. We have seen how a No-Confidence Motion to remove a democratically elected government on December 21, 2018 had spawned protracted legal contentions…”
The Prime Minister added, “Had the reform process got underway, as I was hoping, certain ambiguities would have been cleared up. The society could have been saved the unnecessary burden of literally marking time now for just under one year.”