By anguillian May 15, 2017 10:16




With steps now at an advanced stage of consideration, a comprehensive set of proposals for constitutional and electoral reform in Anguilla have been submitted to the Executive Council and published on the Government’s website.

The submission and publication were done by the Anguilla Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee whose Chairman is retired High Court Judge, Mr. Don Mitchell, CBE, QC.

The table of contents of the report includes the committee’s draft new Constitution for Anguilla; a new Elections Bill; the Electoral Boundaries Commission Bill; and separate proposals by Mr. Thomas Astaphan, QC, among other matters.

The introduction to the report points out that the new Elections Bill “cannot be submitted to the House of Assembly unless, and until, an Electoral Boundaries Commission has been established, and has been reported to the House of Assembly on recommended new boundaries for the proposed nine local electoral districts and four island-wide electoral districts; and the House of Assembly has approved the Commission’s report.”

The introduction continues: “A priority must be the establishing of the Commission and the prompt completion of its work so that the new Elections Act is passed and ready to be brought into action at the next general elections.” The Constitutional Committee also noted in the introduction: “We have therefore drafted a proposed Bill for a Electoral Boundaries Commission along the lines of the Cayman Islands’ provision which seems to us to be adequate for our purposes.”

The report presents comprehensive explanations of the major new constitutional proposals beginning with Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
Chapter 3 deals with the powers and responsibilities of the Governor; Chapter 4, the Executive Branch of the Government of Anguilla, to be restyled the Cabinet; the appointment , tenure and responsibilities of Ministers including the Chief Minister whose appointment is to be restyled Premier, and the functions of the Attorney General’s Chambers; Chapter 5 refers to the Public Service; Chapter 6, the House of Assembly; Chapter 7, the Assembly’s powers and procedures; Chapter 8, the Judicature; Chapter 9, institutions protecting Good Governance; and Chapter 10, Public Finance.

The Constitution and Electoral Reform proposals were published on the Government’s website on May 9, 2017. Persons wishing to obtain further information may log in to the site. Copies of the documents are also available at the Anguilla Public Library.

The draft proposals have already been discussed at various public meetings throughout the island, and their submission to the Executive Council, for consideration and approval, is expected to follow their consideration by the House of Assembly at the appropriate time. The final step is their submission to the British Government in due course.
There have been several attempts at constitutional and electoral reform in Anguilla. This is probably the first time that a draft document of this nature, and scope, has reached this far.

By anguillian May 15, 2017 10:16


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