Political leaders meet on constitutional reform

Prime Minister Chastanet said the reforms must be in consensus with the parliamentary opposition.

The last in a four-part series of live panel discussions on the Constitution was held on Monday, with Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet citing constituency boundaries as a priority area, in the dialogue on the constitutional reform.

The “Discourse on the Constitution” formed part of activities for Saint Lucia’s 38th Independence Anniversary. All four discussions were broadcast live on the National Television Network (NTN), bringing legal experts and parliamentarians together to discuss fundamental rights and freedoms, the Parliament of Saint Lucia, and the drafting of legislation.

Monday’s panel discussion focused on the recommendations contained in the Constitutional Reform Report.

The panel comprised Prime Minister, Hon. Allen Chastanet; Hon. Philip J. Pierre, leader of the Opposition; Andy George, attorney at law and constitutional reform commissioner; and Kim St. Rose, a former attorney general, as moderator.

Prime Minister Chastanet said constitutional reform must be practical and in consensus with the parliamentary opposition. He added that the issue of constituency boundaries is an area of priority for him in the dialogue on constitutional reform, as there has been no significant amendments to Saint Lucia’s constituency boundaries since 1997.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Philip J. Pierre, called for a more effective Parliament. According to Mr. Pierre, there are too many decisions that take place in Cabinet that are not taken to Parliament.

Thirteen years ago a resolution was passed in Cabinet which mandated the establishment of a Constitutional Reform Commission to review and reform the Constitution of Saint Lucia. The resulting report contained nearly 200 recommendations for reform.

In 2016, parliament passed a resolution that a parliamentary committee be established to decide the manner in which the recommendations should be implemented. The committee is expected to be constituted shortly.

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