Religious leader says Grenada missed golden opportunity to reform Constitution

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ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Feb 6, CMC – The head of the Presbyterian community, Reverend Osbert James, says Grenada missed a golden opportunity to entrench some important rights into the Constitution when the island failed to give support to seven proposed pieces of legislation in the referendum in November 2016.
Grenadians voted overwhelmingly to reject seven pieces of legislation that would have reformed the Constitution the island received when it attained political independence from Britain 42 years ago.
In addition, they also rejected moves to change the name of the tri-island state and plans to establish an independent electoral commission.But by a vast majority, the voters turned their backs on plans to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as the island’s final court, as well as rejecting term limits for the prime minister and the appointment of a leader of the opposition in Parliament.
“It is our responsibility to build our nation on the foundation insisted upon by our Constitution….  a foundation which acknowledges the supremacy of God and the rights of fellow citizens. We will be building a nation on a foundation of sand if we pay only lip service to these values.
“As a nation, we missed a golden opportunity to entrench some important rights, especially in the area of gender equity when we went to the referendum,” James said as he delivered the homily at the church service in observance of the island’s 44th year of political independence from Britain.
Grenada will observe the occasion with a public holiday on Wednesday, highlighted by the traditional military parade, rally and concert at the National Cricket Stadium.
Osbert, a former chairman of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, told the congregation that included government ministers, diplomats and former prime minister Tillman Thomas, that as a responsible citizen, each person must be able to decipher which voice is the authentic voice of reason among the many cacophony of confusing voices.
Focusing on the Independence celebration theme of ‘One People, One Country, Our Responsibility,” Osbert said that responsibility must begin with each of citizen acknowledging that change begins with that persons.
“We can only change ourselves and when we have changed, hope to influence change in others,” he said, noting that the March 13 general election provides an opportunity for every registered voter to exercise his or her franchise.
“But we must vote responsibly. When we vote we must vote for those individuals we believe genuinely have the best interest of the country at heart.  If we were to do this, even the independent candidate will stand a chance in the elections.
“It would not be a bad thing if sometime in our country’s history we elected as parliamentarians the best from among those who have presented themselves to the people,” he said.
“If that were to happen, it may result in the independent and party-based candidate having to come together to form a government and choosing from among them the person they all consider best to be the prime servant of the country,” he said.

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