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Why I am voting YES!

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18.SEP.09

Editor: We are now in serious debate about our constitution. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a constitution as “the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it.” When we gained our independence in 1979, we acquired a constitution.{{more}} The level of input to the process or discussions we as citizens had in relation to what would be in the constitution was minimal, to say the least. Nevertheless, our constitution has served us over the years because without it our country would have been in a state of anarchy and chaos.

Throughout the last thirty years of our independence, our Society has grown by leaps and bounds. We have developed in all the varying sectors of our life – Social, Cultural, Educational and Economical. But whereas this has been so, our constitution has not changed significantly, as has our society. Anyone can pledge that things 30 years ago are now very different compared to today. Hence, we can clearly see the need for a revolution in the supreme authority of our land, our constitution.

The process of constitutional reform started some years ago, over six years to be exact. Today we can still hear loud cries of lack of information, that the time is too short, that persons were not aware of the discussions. The reasons for not supporting the process have been various. In my opinion, the process has been long and thorough. I had the opportunity to attend two meetings here in SVG in 2002. Also, we the students in Cuba in 2002 had a visit from a delegation from the Constitution Review Committee, so I can clearly affirm that the interest of the Commission to travel around the world to get our views was an intricate part of the process.

Some persons are now clamouring about the process not being democratic enough. But what do you call consultations all over the globe? We never had the opportunity for such great input as we have received over the last few years. Some might say that they have not gotten the things that they wanted. But is it possible to get all that you want when we are talking about a collective – a nation? I say absolutely no, but what is needed is that we all have ownership of the document, and when we read it and live with it, we are all proud and can see our interests being defended in it.

So now I go full scale into my reasons why I am going to vote YES, and in no way am I knocking our condemning anyone from voting otherwise. My view, though, is that you must have solid grounds for your choice.

1. I am Voting YES – to remove the Queen as our Head of State. We got our independence just about 30 years ago. Why do we still want to hold on to our colonial masters’ boot straps? I am proclaiming that I want to be completely independent of the Queen and all her trimmings – like Her Majesty’s Prisons, Royal SVG Police Force, and Her Majesty’s Court house.

2. I am Voting YES – Because I am a Rastafari woman, and our rights as a movement will be protected even further. Under Chapter 2, section 13, our rights have been strengthened. So I am appealing to all the Rastafari Family to vote YES.

3. I am voting YES – Because I had a chance to contribute to the process which my mother never had when we got the first Constitution.

4. I am voting YES – Because there are vast improvements to existing aspects of our present Constitution. Including the strengthening of the aspect that deals with compensation for acquisitions of land. Time is now specified.

5. I am voting YES – Because there are new aspects of our proposed constitution in relation to additional commissions that will be created such as: Integrity commission, Ombudsman, Parlimentary Commission and the Human Rights Commission. Each of these aspects will assist in the deepening of our democracy.

A document such as a constitution could never please everyone on every issue, but the pertinent issue should be: Is it an improvement, in an overall sense, over the current one? Have our rights been improved? Has more transparency been given to the citizens of the land? Is it better than the current one? I must say vehemently YES, YES, YES, YES. SO I WILL BE VOTING YES. JOIN ME IN MAKING OUR OWN CONSTITUTION, AND MAKING HISTORY.

Peace and Love
Angella “Ideisha” Jackson

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