Con­sti­tu­tional Re­view Re­port Dis­cussed

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By STAR Re­porter

The Saint Lu­cia House of Assem­bly met on Tues­day Au­gust 18, 2015 to de­bate the re­port of the Con­sti­tu­tional Re­view Com­mis­sion.

The House au­tho­rized the es­tab­lish­ment of the Com­mis­sion in 2004 to ex­am­ine Saint Lu­cia’s Con­sti­tu­tion and re­port, in writ­ing, rec­om­men­da­tions and opin­ions for pos­si­ble re­forms.

The con­sti­tu­tional re­view was a joint ef­fort by both the gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia and the op­po­si­tion.

“The com­po­si­tion of the com­mis­sion re­flects both rep­re­sen­ta­tions by gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion,” Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kenny An­thony said on Tues­day. “Both po­lit­i­cal par­ties co­op­er­ated fully in es­tab­lish­ing the com­mis­sion and it is a point that is worth re­peat­ing be­cause this was not a solo en­ter­prise.”

The prime min­is­ter then went on to de­scribe the re­port on con­sti­tu­tional re­form as one of the most ex­ten­sive in his ex­pe­ri­ence com­par­ing it to what had tran­spired in some other Caribbean is­lands in re­cent times.

“It is prob­a­bly one of the most in­ten­sive con­sul­ta­tions ever un­der­taken in Saint Lu­cia, even prior to, and af­ter in­de­pen­dence. I was a wit­ness to the process that led to our Con­sti­tu­tion in 1979, and that process does not match the in­ten­sity of this re­view,” he noted.

The 300-plus page re­port in­cludes over 100 rec­om­men­da­tions. Among them, the re­port rec­om­mends that the right to uni­ver­sal ed­u­ca­tion up to sec­ondary level should be in­cluded in the bill of rights in the Con­sti­tu­tion but should be sub­ject to avail­able re­sources; that the fun­da­men­tal right to health along the lines ex­pressed in ar­ti­cle (25) 1 of the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights should be in­cluded in the Con­sti­tu­tion; and that there should be the cre­ation of a mixed model of gov­ern­ment with a dif­fer­ent ex­ec­u­tive branch, to that which cur­rently pre­vails.

Un­der that new sys­tem, the rec­om­men­da­tions pro­pose that the only mem­ber of the ex­ec­u­tive branch who will be­long to both the leg­is­la­ture and the ex­ec­u­tive will be the prime min­is­ter.

The deputy prime min­is­ter will serve as a mem­ber of Cab­i­net with­out min­is­te­rial au­thor­ity ex­cept when dep­u­tiz­ing for the prime min­is­ter. To this end, he/she will be ap­pointed on the ba­sis of his abil­ity to com­mand the sup­port of a ma­jor­ity of elected mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and he/she will ap­point min­is­ters.

If a min­is­ter is se­lected from Par­lia­ment, he/she must sub­se­quently re­sign as a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, to take up the post of min­is­ter.

The re­port also states that sex­ual in­ti­macy in public should re­main an of­fense and that mar­riage should be be­tween a man and a woman.

It also calls for a po­lit­i­cal party and elec­tions cam­paign fi­nance act to be es­tab­lished, the re­ten­tion of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment and that the Caribbean Court of Jus­tice should re­place the privy coun­cil as the fi­nal ap­pel­late court.

The dis­cus­sions in the House on the re­port will con­tinue on Tues­day Au­gust 25.

Prime Min­is­ter Dr. Kenny An­thony.

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