Over the years, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) which is the largest faction of the APNU+AFC coalition have made lofty promises to the electorate on ensuring Constitutional Reform. But even in the face of their failed efforts, 90 percent of the citizenry still cast their votes for those two political blocs.
Taking this voting pattern into account, Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes opines that constitutional reform may not be a primary issue for the electorate, even though it can help to improve nation building efforts along with the accountable and sustainable development of Guyana’s natural resources.
The lawyer made these and other statements during an interview on Kaieteur Radio moments ago where he looked at the importance of constitutional reform to the incoming oil wealth. Hughes said, “Neither party has seriously advanced Constitutional Reform and neither has made any serious effort to ensure we bring about some level of it …(Yet) 90 percent of the population continues to vote for those two parties or coalitions which involve them. One can perhaps conclude that constitutional is not a primary issue for most of the electorate because most of the parties have demonstrated by their actions that they don’t intend to do much about it.”
Be that as it may, Hughes does believe that Constitutional Reform is necessary to aid in the sustainable development of the nation’s resources. He said that even current provisions within the Statute are perhaps more “aspirational” than practical. In this regard, reference was made to Article 149 (2) which states that the State shall secure sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development. Hughes was keen to note that there are no benchmarks for what constitutes sustainable exploitation of a natural resource hence it would come down to a question of perspective. He said that these, among other critical aspects of the Constitution, need to be addressed.