UNDP Assesses Needs for Constitutional Reform

GEORGETOWN, Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – A United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) expert team is in Guyana to explore how constitutional reform could be realised.

The Prime Minister and First Vice President Moses Nagamootoo and the Coordinator of Governance Ms. Tamara Khan met with the United Nations Delegation, which is in Guyana until the 10th of February to meet various stakeholders.

Fabio Oliva, Rohan Edrisinha, Shabnam Mallick, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, UN Resident Coodinator Mikiko Tanaka, Gerardo Noto, Jason Gluck, and Coordinator of Governance Tamara Khan

The current UNDP mission comprises:  Mr. Gerardo Noto, Mr. Rohan Edrisinha and Mr. Jason Gluck all of whom are UN constitutional consultants. The UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Mikiko Tanaka and the Deputy Resident Coordinator Ms. Shabnam Mallick are also working with the mission team.

The terms of reference (TOR) between the Government of Guyana, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (UNDPA) outlines the scope of the constitutional reform needs assessment mission, as follows:

(i) Assess the political environment in Guyana and the legal and institutional framework governing the constitutional reform process; (ii) review past reform processes; (iii) evaluate the interest, capacity and roles of the various civil and political stakeholders in engaging in the constitutional reform process; and (iv) assess the potential role of UNDP-UNDPA in assisting this process and resources required.

The UNDP – UNDPA team will sit with a broad base of stakeholders to gain pertinent feedback for the needs of the various civil society actors in the process of constitutional reform. The team has requested meetings with the Leader of the Opposition and the People’s Progressive Party, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the National Toshaos Council Chairman, Trade Unions, the Rights Commissions, Private Sector Commission, religious bodies, the Guyana Bar Association, international partners and several other civil society bodies.

During consideration of the 2016 budget, the Prime Minister disclosed that the process of constitutional reform must forge ahead in 2017 and that various partners including UNDP and UNICEF have assured assistance.

As a preparatory step, a Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform (SCCR) headed by Mr. C.A. Nigel Hughes was set up on September 1st, 2015. The Committee’s report was submitted to the Prime Minister on 30th April 2016 and subsequently laid before Cabinet for studied discussions. A Constitutional Reform Consultative Commission Bill was drafted and is now the subject of further Cabinet deliberations.

Subsequently, the Carter Center came on board as a partner in the constitutional reform process.

Prime Minister Nagamootoo started talks, on programme support in general, and constitutional reform in particular with the UNDP as far back as July 23 of 2015, as noted in the press, when he met with UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America, Jessica Faieta, and then UNDP Resident Representative Khadija Musa.

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