COMMITTEE PREPARING REPORT AND DRAFT CONSTITUTION

anguillian
By anguillian January 30, 2012 10:18

COMMITTEE PREPARING REPORT AND DRAFT CONSTITUTION

Rev. Dr. H. Clifton Niles

The Anguilla Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee is in the process of working towards the preparation of a report on its work, andon submitting a draft of the new constitution.

This was told to The Anguillian on Tuesday this week, by Committee Chairman, Rev. Dr. H. Clifton Niles. He was at the time commenting on a three-month extension of the Committee’s appointment by Executive Council, until the end of March, to complete its work. He outlined how the work will now proceed, once a draft of the constitution has been done.

“Step one is to have a meeting with Government officials, Opposition members and other persons, including leading clergy, to look at what we have done and to see if they have any input,” he stated. “Whatever input they may have the Committee will meet again, look at their suggestions and then prepare a draft for presentation to the public. We are hoping that by the end of February that will be done.

“We will have several public meetings looking at the entire constitution, and if there is any significant input from the public, that requires change, the Committee will again look at it and see if there is any need for adjusting the draft that we will have presented. The final draft, as far as the Committee is concerned, will be the presentation to the Government. The way I see it is that the Government will need to get a constitutional expert to look at the draft or, perhaps, begin dialogue with the British.”

Asked what the draft constitution may be called in relation to the status to whichAnguillashould aspire, Rev. Niles replied: “We are not giving it any name. At the moment, the reforms are being done within the context of the existing colonial relationship which Anguilla has withBritain.”

 

The Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee Chairman said it was important for the general public to be involved in the process especially between late February and March when the  Committee hoped to begin its public forum sessions on the draft constitution. He said, however, that his Committee would not be repeating the extensive meetings already held by the previous Committee headed by David Carty and particularly the commission which was chaired by Don Mitchell.

Rev. Niles stated that his Committee was appointed to serve for three months from September 1 to November 30, 2011but its work was delayed due to slow communication with members and the need toget access to various documents. “Chief among those documents was the report that Mr. Don Mitchell had written sometime in 2006,” he continued. “Since then, Mr. Mitchell has been working on a draft constitution. We eventually got those two, plus some work Lolita Richardson and Dame Bernice had done, in addition to constitutions of the BVI, Turks and Caicos Islands,Bermuda, etc. We got going early in October, looking particularly at the draft constitution done by Don Mitchell and Lolita, making adjustments to it and comparing what was done in other places.”

The work of the Committee was further delayed by a lack of secretarial services until assistance was received from the Ministry of Home Affairs. Accordingly, this is now helping the Committee to speed up its work.

Working on the Committee with Rev. Niles on the draft constitution are three lawyers: John Benjamin, Cora Richardson-Hodge (who is representing the Opposition Anguilla United Front) and Dawn Richardson, representative of the Attorney General’s Chambers; Whaldama (Ras B) Brooks, Patrick Hanley and Brent Davis (who is representing the Anguilla Progressive Party); and QuinciaGumbs, representative of the island’s young people.

anguillian
By anguillian January 30, 2012 10:18

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