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Our three constitutions


by Oscar Allen 18.SEP.09

Right now, the struggle for a new Vincentian Constitution to be born is a struggle to decide which one out of three (3) constitutions we must embrace as a people. Briefly, there is the Present Constitution of 1979 which Her Majesty (associated with her mother and her son) ordered for us. Secondly, there is the Proposed Constitution which has been passed in our Parliament and is to go to a People’s referendum on 25th November DV (barring hurricane or there disorder).{{more}} Thirdly, there is the Suppressed Constitution, more than a document. This is a dignifying identity, and a treaty that unites our people and reopens the doors of power. It will provide Vincentians with the right to live and develop in a human society in which the development of each person has a reciprocal interaction with the development of the whole nation.

This 3rd constitution has a long history. Chatoyer and his foreparents fought for it. Moving up to the 1970s, the National Independence Committee of 1978 put it into documents – see the House of Assembly records. The God empowered over threw of colonial slavery 170 years ago, also calls on us to give this 3rd constitution the kind of substance which will make any unjust power, rights and justice, in our 2nd constitution. Yet, when we look in the pages of our 2nd constitution for the substance of our dignity, unity and our identity, and the power we ought to possess, what we read of are plausible, incrementally progressive statements, processes, institutions and ruling elites. Constitution No 2 is suppressing constitution No 3, and 25th November could turn out to be another paper icon, a lovely kite which only the bosses can fly. We have got to reach down into our material interests and spiritual bowels and gather strength to liberate constitution No 3 and give it our words, wings and power.

Let us look at what we call the Monarchy and our rejection of it. It is easy to accept the argument that we should not have the British Queen as our head of State, and her Privy Council as the summit of our justice legal system and jurisprudence. That is cool. But the monarchy was more than a constitutional arrangement. It began as a divine/God given cement binding the community together. God gave the land to the monarch (crown lands), the people, too, were like property of the monarch to be made into lords, commons, etc (Note that Parliament has a House of Lords and House of Commons). The point is this: As we remove the Monarchy, what cementing, pledge binding, uplifting and identifying stratospheric entity do we design and desire as the model, guide, bases and assurance of our Vincentianness? Have we put our minds and spirits to this important question, or are we just chatting about “powers” of the Prime Minister, and role of the President and numbers of parliamentarians and our Court of Justice?

In our present constitution, we are called to be loyal subjects and pliant servants of the British monarch. We even embrace as fellow voters – persons from those countries which the British conquered in their empire! Britain tells us who can vote here! In our proposed constitution, neither the President, the Prime Minister, nor the people fill the constitution in such a way as to draw our affection, or to ennoble us with dignity. Our 2nd constitution has nothing to warm the heart. In place of a uniting, uplifting core, the proposed constitution seems to exalt the Party, a divisive entity. Let us take some time to assert in our 3rd constitution a preamble and a power that can dignify us and bear our name.

Our 3rd constitution needs to become a real people’s constitution, fully republican.