Constitutional reform still a government priority
Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, has insisted that the administration remains committed to constitutional reform. The Minister was at the time speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo at the University of Guyana’s ninth round of Tain and Turkeyen Talks. This round focused on constitutional reform and whether efforts to have the constitution changed should be continued, or whether it should remain as it is. According to Minister Trotman, “The government of Guyana has made efforts to keep this matter on the front burner, we did make a manifesto promise for constitutional reform.”
The constitutional reform Bill was presented to the National Assembly for the first time in July 2017. A constitutional reform consultative commission Bill was drafted to pave the way for the establishment of a Constitutional Reform Consultative Commission. “We have worked on the Constitutional Reform Consultative Commission bill which is a large measure taken from the 1998 bill which was crafted during the seventh parliament and is now with the review committee of Parliament,” Minister Trotman explained.
A successful constitutional reform process must emphasise meaningful dialogue, negotiation, and compromise on the part of the government, opposition and citizens. In this regard, Minister Trotman added, “I believe that it is all of our responsibility government opposition, civil society, academia, youth, women all of us, we all have that equal responsibility.” Meanwhile, reports submitted by the initial steering committee indicate that the Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) must be independent, representative and inclusive of civil society. The public at large must be provided with opportunities to participate in consultations. Public education is also to be a major area of focus. Other support agencies can also contribute their bit to the process of consultation and reform. “I dare say that the government welcomes every initiative to move the process forward,” Minister Trotman remarked.
- The University of Guyana