Opposition constantly failed to present proposals for constitutional reform- AG
While government is moving ahead in fulfilling its promise of constitutional reform, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, MP, has described the participation of the opposition members of parliament in that process as “abysmal”.
For constitutional reform to occur, a proposal in the National Assembly requires a two-thirds majority vote for it to be passed.
The government has since proposed the establishment of a Constitutional Reform Commission, which will also comprise opposition members, to ensure both sides of the house agree on reform matters before any bill is tabled in the National Assembly.
However, Minister Nandlall explained that the opposition has failed on several occasions to execute its responsibilities in the Standing Committee established by parliament for constitutional reform.
“The opposition in the committee was given since 22nd April to put to the committee as they requested, their proposals in relation to how we should move forward with constitutional reform. They requested time to do so since the 22nd of April. On the 17th of June, we had a meeting, and I believe one person [from the opposition] was present…that meeting did not proceed,” the minister said.
Requests for the submission of proposals on June 17 bore no fruit.
At the reconvening of the committee earlier on Friday, Minister Nandlall revealed that the opposition members still did not present a proposal of any form to the committee for the furtherance of its work.
“Again, I reiterated the request for their proposals which they promised to submit since the 22nd of April. We are now in the month of July, and three months after, we are yet to receive any proposals whatsoever from the opposition,” he highlighted.
The minister noted that the non-participation of the opposition is seriously stymieing the work of the committee since some amount of consensus must be arrived at before significant progress could be made.
“I have said from the beginning, constitutional reform, if it is to be effective and successful, it requires bipartisan cooperation on behalf of all the political parties in the National Assembly. It is one exercise in the national agenda of our country that can only yield any measure of success if both sides are participating and are working together. Thus far, we have seen an abysmal non-cooperation and non-participation from the opposition benches,” he explained.
Minister Nandlall reiterated the government’s commitment to seeing the process through, as it is a “high priority” since its assumption to office in 2020.