Right to recall faces axe
By Andre Bagoo Monday, September 24 2012
THE GOVERNMENT is now poised to drop a controversial proposal for giving citizens a right to recall errant Members of Parliament, in favour of the entrenchment of Local Government in the Constitution, according to two senior Cabinet sources aware of ongoing efforts at Constitution reform.
Newsday understands that the concept of a right to recall is viewed as an unworkable logistical nightmare” by several senior members of the Cabinet and is likely to be dropped in favour of moving for the entrenchment of Local Government within the Constitution.
Sources, who declined to go on record because they had not been authorised to speak on the matter, said the Government would more likely seek to push for the inclusion of a specific section on Local Government within the Constitution. Local Government elections would, in this way, become an entrenched barometer by which the electorate provides its views on the performance of a government.
One senior Cabinet minister on Friday said of the right to recall, promised in the PP Government’s 2010 manifesto, “it was never well-thought out and should never have been included in the first place.”
Page 15 of the PP manifesto promises consultations on “a right to recall for non-performing parliamentary representatives.”
Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar, who heads the Cabinet sub-committee on law, called the Legislative Review Committee (LRC), was due to today make an announcement on Constitution Reform, to coincide with the Republic Day holiday.
On September 3, in a press release, Ramadhar had said, “Later this month, on the September 24, our Republic Day observance, I will again advise the population of the progress we have made and the timetable for the further implementation of the exercise.” However, sources last week told Newsday that an announcement was not yet ready and is not likely to be made today.
Notwithstanding, the issue of Constitution reform is likely to return to the front-burner for the People’s Partnership administration, as it attempts to move beyond the Section 34 fiasco which has placed heightened scrutiny on its legislative agenda.
Newsday understands that Ramadhar is expected to announce the start of consultations on Constitution reform in the coming weeks.
While there have been reports that a Constitution has been drafted by the PP administration, it is understood that a draft document will not be taken to the public. Instead, the Government will opt to use a document with “talking points” on several discrete issues that are proposed.
These include: fixed terms for prime ministers, fixed election dates and, now, the question of incorporation of Local Government in the Constitution.