Constitutional Commission (CRC) Re-Invented the Wheel

By Stephen Kangal
February 14, 2014

Stephen KangalHaving submitted what is no more than disappointing glorified minutes or executive summary of the deliberations of the CRC on the road map to reforming the existing 1967 Republican Commission without appending the requisite draft Working Paper it appears that the remit of the CRC in its own admission has ended. But why is the CRC still bent on holding further consultations on previous consultations when it admits it has completed its job? According to the CRC the next step to be taken falls within the ambit of parliamentarians and the population.

Accordingly who authorized the CRC to arrange three further consultations? What is its locus standi in this further exercise in futility when it has submitted its Report and apparently dissolved itself? Has Cabinet rejected the Report and issued an additional mandate contrary to collective decision of the CRC?

It is a source of extreme disappointment that agreed minutes of a time -consuming and expensive exercise has taken the place of a draft Constitution which is what we all legitimately and reasonably expected would have been the outcome of this Commission’s deliberations seeing that attorneys were in the membership.

These resumed consultations are a charade that must not be veneered with any legitimacy and procedural appropriateness/way to go because we are now being asked to comment on our comments and there is no way that a Draft Constitution can be formulated prior to August 2015. This spells a waste of time and a pure unadulterated disaster that is taking the polity for a wasteful ride.

The Commission did not have to re-invent the wheel which is what it has done. Each previous initiative in this regard had as its result the production of a draft or a Working document subject to amendment and alterations. These included:

The Manning draft Working Paper (2009)
The Principles of Fairness Draft (2006)
The Ellis Clarke Draft (Prior to 2006)

The Commission was free to dilate on the provisions of these drafts including the Wooding Proposals.

We have been conducted into a jungle and rather than leading us out of the jungle we are being led further into the forest going around in circles lost and bazodee.

What will these consultations serve on the road to CR? Given the time frame that faced the Commission that is to say to achieve the task before the next election the verdict is a failure to deliver and achieve.

What can be the purpose if these resumed consultations when the CRC “… now completed its deliberations…” and “… The Minister has a direct responsibility to take this report to the Cabinet with a clear mandate for implementation…”

Implement what and in what form and fashion? In a Draft Constitution that will have to both drafted and subjected to further public scrutiny within a one year time-frame left again?

Has this Report been submitted to Cabinet and has the Cabinet authorised the resumption of consultations and is this resumed process of more consultations the aspect of implementation intended by Cabinet?

Listen to the conclusive character/thrust of the last paragraph of the Report:

“…As a Commission we listened and debated. The end product is now before you for your further consideration. We have done our job and the next step is left to our parliamentarians and the population”

This is the end of the road for the CRC. What is it doing in SPEC, Chaguanas and Tobago?

Has it been re-incarnated and by whom?