The New Constitution: Barbadians Must Insist on the Power to Recall

The Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) started its work this week under the banner ‘Have Your Say’. The blogmaster encourages Barbadians to make time to submit opinions on what a NEW Constitution should look like. In the same way we are proud to promote agreements. titled the Bridgetown Accord, we must not be afraid to frame a New Constitution which represents a model for SIDs and even MDCs. 

One of the initial contributions to the CRC identified the need for fixed terms for the prime minister. The blogmaster would add the importance of including the power of recall. The level of cynicism and apathy by the citizenry makes recall mandatory in the NEW Constitution. This would help to rekindle hope for our failing system of government. 

In recent decades the rise of the duopoly in Barbados and with it a growing culture of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ has compromised our democracy. A relevant New Constitution – in a simple view – must seek to balance the rights of citizens with the power given to government to effectively govern the country. No one can deny Barbadians do not adequately participate in the governance system in order for it to work as envisaged by the framers. We have to do better.

The Mia Mottley government won the last two general elections in unprecedented fashion for who a fraction of the electorate voted. In the first pass the post system, it must be a accepted for what it is. No doubt the CRC will be asked to consider propositional representation and wishful thinking though it is, revamp the bicameral system handed to us by the ‘Mother Country’, and with it the ineffective working committees of parliament AND Senate.

Why should citizens be concerned to insist on a relevant Constitution to address a dysfunctional governance system?

The Mia Mottley government as a consequence of a dysfunctional governance system had to govern with no Opposition represented in parliament. It must be blot on the psyche of sensible Bajans to have the legitimacy of our government questioned in the Courts. At a moment in history when we need Bajans everywhere to be supremely confident to confront the many challenges, we have to be mired in process.

Since taking office the Mottley government despite a large Cabinet have had to clawback or apologise for too many initiatives which point to incompetence? To mention a few – the vehicle stickers, steel houses imported from China, Covid19 vaccine scandal, IDB science test…

Barbadians must insist on the power to recall of an MP or government if there is sufficient evidence of poor policy making and execution.

34 thoughts on “The New Constitution: Barbadians Must Insist on the Power to Recall


    We do not need the right to revoke our honourable government.

    The first and foremost objective of the Constitutional Commission must be to cement the omnipotence of our Supreme Leader for eternity. She has defeated volcanic ash, earthquakes, hurricanes, wild men and the DLP. No other power can match her.

    To this end, we must restrict the rights of parties, since parties are only needed in a bickering system of conflicting parties, but not when the will of the people demands unity of power and one-party rule. Likewise, basic rights must be supplemented by basic duties, for example, a national labour service for school leavers and the unemployed. No work, no handouts! Furthermore, we need state funding for the party that sits in parliament (and only that party) and stricter media laws.

    I expect K2, the National Leader of the Mottley Youth, to be a faithful governor of our Supreme Leader and to work ahead of her spirit and principles.

    “Sacrifices must be made.” (Tron)

  2. Bajans weigh in at meeting

    FIXED TERMS FOR PRIME MINISTERS, additional powers to the President and harsher penalties for convicted murderers are among the provisions some Barbadians want added to the new Constitution.
    They also want to prevent the Government from “stripping away their rights” during a public health crisis, and freedom from religion.
    The submissions were made during the first Constitutional Reform Commission meeting entitled Have Your Say, held at The St Michael School.
    The start of the robust, three-hour session was met with some contention following a prayer by Commissioner Senator Reverend Dr John Rogers to invoke God’s presence. The scores who attended were asked to stand as Rogers prayed.
    While making it clear that he had family members who were religious, Maxi Baldeo disagreed with the invocation.
    “The Constitution as it is currently constructed gives everybody the right of religion, which I totally support. But what is not included and must be included, is the right of freedom from religion.
    “I found it totally disheartening that there was a Christian religious invocation when you have a Muslim there, you could have a Hindu . . . . This is a secular society and this should be a secular event and it should not start with any religious invocations,” Baldeo said minutes into the exercise.
    About an hour later, Kirkley Gibson was adamant God must be featured in the new Constitution.
    “I believe in God and I would like that statement to remain in the Constitution. If this is a Christian nation still, with God being mentioned in the Constitution,” he said.
    Gibson queried the way Government instituted various protocols throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and insisted the republic constitution should not allow Government to command certain behaviours.
    “Under a national health pandemic, our rights were taken away. I would like that that cannot happen under the new constitution. If the Government would make a statement that there is a national health pandemic, I would prefer that they could make suggestions like staying in the house or wearing masks, but that they cannot command you to from moving when those are supposed to be my freedoms and my liberties,” he said.
    He made those comments
    before chairman of the Commission, retired judge Christopher Blackman, and other members – former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, Muslim chaplain at the University of the West Indies Suleiman Bulbulia, Rogers and Senator Gregory Nicholls.
    There were several questions raised about the composition of the Commission, but the chairman maintained that their role was to take account of opinions.
    “This commission is to consult with citizens and residents of Barbados on what they wish to see in the Constitution of the republic of Barbados. This is the opportunity to have your say on whatever topic you may wish to raise, providing it’s not libellous,” Blackman said.
    Brathwaite said the commissioners’ views were not as important as the public’s submissions.
    “Our remit is that we take all of the feedback from the public, try to distil it and place it into a public report.
    “For example, when Father Rogers began, I noticed you were a bit uncomfortable . . . and I said, ‘Okay, fine, we made a mistake’ and we need to hear everyone’s views about whether or not we need to start with a word of prayer. However, as a commission, our word of prayer is not to the God I serve but to the God we all serve or otherwise, so we respect that,” Brathwaite said.
    Deighton Smith suggested that the President have more responsibilities and be less ceremonial. He also said the Auditor General should report to the President and members of the Public Accounts Committee should also be appointed by the President.
    Seventh member
    “If there is no leader of the Opposition, the President should appoint a seventh member. Therefore if the Government officials choose not to attend, the meetings will go on. The public’s money will be debated in public,” Smith said.
    Keith Weekes, 86, said he wants to see the day when the Prime Minister can only hold office for a maximum of three four-year terms, and when elections will be called every four years on a set date.
    He also asked that Government revisit certain signed treaties, especially those that deal with the death penalty.
    “I think what we should be doing to persons found guilty of murder, if we do not want to go to the gallows, I would like to see legal injections introduced. Those found guilty of manslaughter should receive public floggings,” Weekes said bluntly.
    In his submissions, political scientist Devaron Bruce asked that the committee’s process be transparent.
    “It can’t be a situation where you say the committee has recommended or decided upon, but we don’t know who voted on what, who supported what. If it was Parliament I would know, so transparency is important in your process. I think you have to let the public know what you are doing so the public knows this is an organic activity,” Bruce said.
    In response, Nicholls said they were recruiting a research team and each contribution will be considered.
    “We will carefully consider all of the submissions. Hopefully, we can build consensus but where we can’t, there will be opportunities for persons who are in the minority to make submissions. It is not a situation where our deliberation will be in secret. It will be written in a way the public will understand,” Nicholls added.
    The next meetings will be held on October 30 at Alexandra School, and November 6 at Deighton Griffith Secondary School. Other submissions can be sent to

    Source: Nation

  3. “additional powers to the President”

    The seed is planted … Our Supreme Leader will soon move into the presidential office for life.

  4. “Not a peep from Caricom, BU or the Barbados government concerning the news coming out of Haiti.”

    you are not getting any sympathy for local parents and their children who were ILLEGALLY MISUSED in the disgusting AGENDA of other people’s sick fantasies and fairy tales, that WILL HAVE NEGATIVE AND DEADLY REPERCUSSIONS for centuries to come…….ya really think ya will get any for Haitians….the descendants whose ancestors SAVED THE USELESS asses of the present day pretender’s ancestors from chattel slavery,

    a people they have LOOKED DOWN ON…when schooled to by enemies…

    it’s a good thing the descents of the Haitian freedom fighters are still around to honor their ancestors…

  5. They really need an IMMEDIATE RECALL CLAUSE added ….as can be found in progressive societies…..

    immediate OUSTER of fraud governments……via petition of 1,000 votes….

    recall for corruption

    recall for collaborating and participating to oppress, suppress, exploit and enabling and condoning the practice of racism and apartheid against the Afrikan population..

    recall for thefts of public funds

    recall for colluding with sub-species to rob the treasury, vat and pension fund…

    recall for SELLING OUT the people and their children to foreign entities while sitting on their boards…AND LYING….

  6. Don’t understand why they would want to hold on to any part of a monarchy….but shows up the mindsets….then they want to blame the same colonials when they are the ones refuse to let go and steadfastly holding on in their Stockholm Syndrome……and obsession with colonial titles….

    so are the female QCs now going to call themselves King’s Counsel……the men were Queen’s Counsels….are these looking at themselves, i bet not..

    it’s commonsense, you claim republic status, even though FAKE, with no republic constitution…..still holding on to a colonial version….and yet…they expect sensible people to take them seriously, especially after the underhanded things they do…

    “A constitutional lawyer says attorneys adopting the King’s Counsel title following the installation of a new British monarch sends the wrong message when Barbados has declared itself a republic, even as Chief Justice (CJ) Sir Patterson Cheltenham declared the matter was not a straightforward one.

    1 / 6

    The question of whether attorneys should hold on to the postnominal title of Queen’s Counsel (QC) bestowed on them prior to the death of Queen Elizabeth II or adopt the KC postnominal with her son King Charles now on the throne, came up for discussion on Wednesday as several veteran lawyers made appearances before the Chief Justice in the Court of Appeal.

    While some attorneys who hold the QC title have adopted the KC title, by virtue of the Demise of the Crown Act 1901, constitutional attorney Garth Patterson, who is also a QC, said he had difficulty adopting those letters.

    “Having a new monarch who does not represent the head of state of Barbados . . . for us to adopt the postnominal of King’s Counsel I think puts us in an embarrassing position,” he said.”

  7. Same with the foolish looking colonial wigs, the story behind those are so embarrassing, that Afrikan people should not want to be seen dead wearing those ugly things…..sorry to be the one to break it, but yall have always been laughingstocks..

    “The CJ said the issue is one he has “agonised on”, noting that the grant of letters is largely an executive decision.

    “I am not sure having received republican status we automatically go back. There is that school of thought with a persuasive argument . . . . Now that we have gone there [to republican status], isn’t there some point at which we need to pause and say hold on, do we anomalously remain QCs – which we will be the laughing stock of the world if we were – or do we become KCs – we also are the laughingstock because you fellas just proclaimed yourself a republic. So where are you?”

  8. TLSNOctober 17, 2022 7:39 PM

    Not a peep from Caricom, BU or the Barbados government concerning the news coming out of Haiti.

    It may soon happen in Mexico, but the US may do it itself, not the UN!!

    Across the border from Texas rival gangs are shooting at each other with 50 caliber machine guns.

    Abbott, the Texas Governor, has already declared the cartels as terrorist organizations.

  9. “Down taw, no brush’
    “The Government’s proposed compulsory purchase of private St Lawrence lands for private development presents us with the prime opportunity to discuss the long-standing, unsettled debate on the meaning of “public purpose” in law.”

    One man’s opinion (Bread and butter view)
    You must forgive me. I never took the time to study what is socialism, capitalism, communism or any other ism. I just go by my intuition or gut feeling of and what is right.

    I remember when businessmen bought school uniforms, along came covid-19 and the children did not go to school. The businessmen rushed to government for a handout. What kind of business is it for which there is no risk? You either make a profit or you break even

    Now we have government putting its heavy hand on the scale and tilting it in favor of private developers. How does government decide who it will deprive of their rights/property to make others rich?

    What is the calculus?
    Is it just who can put money in their pockets?
    Is it that “we will lose 50 votes here but will gain 200 when the project is finished?”
    Is it that “this project will provide jobs for 200 people”?
    Have you ever seen that level of details?

    Constitutional reform must limit the “down taw, no brush” powers of government. Life is not a game of checkers; we must limit the powers of government to huff people property and put it in the hands of the others? Let’s expand on issues that are important to us.

    Don’t get distracted by the few who will come and try to obfuscate the matter. Their idea of refuting facts is something like this. “Gotchya. You are wrong. He didn’t murder him with his left hand he used the right”. Who care if he used the right or left hand, he murdered the man.

  10. If as a country we can implement guidelines – in our Constitution? – to ensure assets, businesses is developed with core the population in mind.

    Lumber Company closing Waterford

    THE BARBADOS LUMBER COMPANY, a symbol of black business achievement, has confirmed it is closing one of its landmark branches.
    A press release yesterday stated that the board of directors decided to shut down its retail branch at Waterford, St Michael, effective September 30. “However, in the interim, there will be limited office and warehousing activities being carried on at Waterford, St Michael, until further notice,” it added.
    All retail operations previously done at Waterford have been transferred to the Speightstown, St Peter store and the management
    team has been tasked with reviewing its options for the vacant property. The company said this was because the area has been earmarked for the development of a new National Stadium and further upgrades to the Botanical Gardens.
    Earlier this month, news broke that the branch was closing as residents in the area noticed a change in operations.
    The company, incorporated on June 25, 1973, operated from Waterford and eventually became a household name and a representation of the achievement of black Barbadians as businesspeople.
    It was a collaborative project between the late Amory Phillips and Rawle Brancker, designed to aid cricketers of the day. The lumber retailers came into existence through the backing of a group of Jamaican investors who wanted to extend the operations of their lumber company throughout the Caribbean.
    The company was a front runner in the promotion of local sports culture, providing sponsorship for the Lakers basketball club and the United Athletic netball team, among others. ( PR/AC)

    Source: Nation

  11. Will it be a constitution or a con situation
    Don’t get caught up with bicameral or ‘tricameral’ issues.

    You can have all the laws in the world. Moses could come and\ deliver the perfect constitution, but if we elect 30 people who believe they are above that law or who fail to adhere to the constitution then we have once again given lip service to the process.

    We have corrupted the 3 P;s (people, process, profits) to politicians, process, profits to people and profits. Our politicians (people) just ignore the process and make huge profits.

    It looks as if our input may in the end focus on just three major items (prayer, homosexuality, term limits) and then a few other items added in to say we did something.

    My view of these major matters is a simple one.
    You can pray to the devil or god of your choice.
    You can make love how you want to and to who or what you like.
    Three terms or two terms is a non-issue, if they are good keep them, if they are bad kick them out.

    It is not the number of terms that concern me, it is the number of people who vote that is an issue.
    Two or three terms base on 25% of the votes is disconcerting.
    To ignore the rights of parents and children, to push teachers and principals out of the classroom and have strangers be alone with them is frightening.
    An administration that digs in its heels with the sole purpose of waiting for this issue to die alarms me.

    We already have lots of processes are in place, but no one follows them. Please participate in this con-situation.

    As always, I am not there yet. I am here looking back at what needs fixing. Let’s try to fix a few things before we come up with a document with fancy sounding phrases and then ignore it.

    • You are conflating issues. We need people with integrity operating in a relevant governance system. In others words, we must do all required to ensure checks and balances are continually tweaked to be relevant.

  12. “To ignore the rights of parents and children, to push teachers and principals out of the classroom and have strangers be alone with them is frightening.
    An administration that digs in its heels with the sole purpose of waiting for this issue to die alarms me.”

    they are currently hiding in the dark, cockroach style, praying in vain that their latest CON they got CAUGHT IN will miraculously disappear, but not yet clued in that it will GO NOWHERE because they thought so highly of themselves and underestimated those who know that they have been con artists their whole lives, that’s all any of them are good for…

    the CON-stitution will be ignored just as the parts in the previous one were IGNORED for 56 YEARS…as it pertained to the majority population and their children’s human rights…

  13. Revolution 1
    Song by The Beatles

    Take two

    You say you want a revolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world
    You tell me that it’s evolution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change the world

    But when you talk about destruction
    Don’t you know that you can count me out (in)

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be
    All right?
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)

    You say you got a real solution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to see the plan
    You ask me for a contribution
    Well, you know
    We’re all doing what we can

    But if you want money for people with minds that hate
    All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We’d all love to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free your mind instead

    But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)
    Don’t you know it’s gonna be (all right)

    All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all right
    All right, all right, all right, all right, all right

  14. “We The People” must Unite
    But, those people seem to be making points for their own interests and not everyone’s
    A Con-stituent is a component Con-stituting part of a larger whole

    Revolution 1 (Take 18)

  15. So is it true that “the police are investigating the apparent theft of a hard drive containing “sensitive” information including about the island’s water infrastructure, from a computer at the state-owned BWA.”

    when traitors sell such information, it’s so easy to poison the water supply..and the same fools too, but they don’t care they already got the money…..going from bad to worse DAILY..

  16. @ Waru,
    One would think that certain individuals would be horrified of the real threats faced by our children whom appear to be knowingly groomed.. Not so in the circus called BU or Barbados You have my sympathies.

    Talking about a circus, the pantomime season has come early in the season to the UK I was the first one on BU to say that Liz-trust-u-less was going to be a disaster.

    Once again Mia must thank the Gods that she is never exposed to the same rigour by her own party colleagues and the media. as Luz Truss.

  17. “@ Waru,
    One would think that certain individuals would be horrified of the real threats faced by our children whom appear to be knowingly groomed.. Not so in the circus called BU or Barbados You have my sympathies.”

    they don’t care, only interested in slimy go nowhere politics, see how much leverage they can use to tear down each other, presenting us with a bunch of fraudulent bullshit analysis that means SQUAT…working overtime to keep the population trapped in generational bondage, so they can feel good about themselves, while showing everyone who they really are…….the usual go nowhere agendas…

    while most people have MOVED WAY BEYOND THAT….we are all these children and their parents have right now, but they have a VERY STRONG FORCE standing up for them, even i was impressed by what i found out….so those who believe they are some gift to the world, are in no way needed to muddle anything..

    hope those who care nothing about the island’s children and are not ashamed to show it, don’t need any help going forward because they WILL NOT GET IT…

  18. Pure Bread and Butter

    I have resisted referring to Barbados as 2×3 island. Those who do so are wrong, for Barbados is heading towards a 30x2x3 island. Here is a Minister ignoring the plight of the least fortunate in the island and stating that he intends to focus on those who are in his constituency who needs housing.

    Is he a national MP or just the representative of St Michael East?
    What about the person in St Lucy who just has the sky as a rood over his head and no food in his larder.?
    Must he/she wait until Mr. Peter Phillips (the St. Lucy’s representative) wins the lottery and feels generous or until election is called and the BLP feels it is wise to distribute a few crumbs to that constituency?

    A proud and independent nation reduced to 30x2x3 little fiefdoms.
    How can politicians be so bold that they can make these ridiculous statements to a nation?
    Is this politician only concern about his success (reelection) during next election?
    Does he sees us as a single nation or as 29 constituencies attached to St Michael East?
    Can we be satisfied that the national coffers become pocket change for some so that they can spread it around for their own benefit?

    Thank God they are a few men and women of conscience who had the courage to say … Mr. Prescod please consider the least fortunate. In essence, they are saying, “we are a nation, we just cannot sit and watch you dole out favors for your benefit; we cannot watch you now victimize our brother and sister who are hurting. Mr. Trevor Prescod you are wrong; first take care of our brothers and sisters who are in desperate need”

    I don’t care where you stand B or D. It is time for all of us to stop apologies, excuses and accusation and stand for one Barbados. We must insist that people benefits be distributed according to the need of the people and not be constituency of how you voted in the last election.

    Now you see why I don’t get worked up on publishing a piece of paper with the words “The Constitution of the Republic of Barbados (ConRoB)” at the top. I wish to assert you that the constitution cannot reach the heights that are promised for the vison of those who will implement is too limited. A kite can fly no higher than the length of the string to which it is attached.

  19. “Here is a Minister ignoring the plight of the least fortunate in the island and stating that he intends to focus on those who are in his constituency who needs housing.”,

    that’s what low intelligence levels do, create divisions..

    …i have long said that when the people realize that they are much more intelligent than those they vote for and pay a salary to…it’s TIME TO GET RID OF ALL OF THEM….they serve no useful purpose and still on their hundred-year-old mission of seeking out yardfowls, political pimps, imps and Slaves…..their only ambition and real goal in life….looking for the complete idiots who would return them to small power to do it all over again..

    these are not and NEVER WERE real leaders….they were and always will be OPPORTUNISTIC MISLEADERS…

  20. Taking no prisoners
    Have you ever been courted by a man or a woman who whispered sweet ‘nothings’ in your ears?
    I can tell you that the bigger the liar, the sweeter are the whispers of nothing.

    You would believe that The Data Protection Act of 2019 would afford protections to all citizens. But in 2022, we have parents not being informed, teachers and principals being booted from the classroom, strangers entering the classroom and talking with and testing our children, our children, age, name and date of birth being collected? At this time we had no idea what was told to our children or what promises was extracted from them.

    Put yourself in the place of an 11-year old. Your all powerful teacher gets kick out of the classroom and even more powerful figures are standing to the front of the class and talking to you. What an awful situation. It is said that the person who carries some responsibility for the act went dumb for a short period after the disaster.

    But perhaps the sweetest whispers comes from Minister of People Empowerment and Elder (PEE) Affairs Kirk Humphrey. Kirk Humphrey, the master of sweet nothings.

    We have a blogger here who points out the challenges facing the elderly in Barbados, the lack of protection and the deafness of the authorities to the cries of the elderly, but her comes the PEE Affairs minister is able to spin a good tale of sweet nothings.

    Some will say wait and see, but we have waited and we saw and expect more of the same. PEE on our legs and the AFFAIRs minister telling us it is raining.

    I wonder who DRAFTED this statement for him “I just received in my hand the final elderly policy. We are told that by the end of November we will have the draft instructions for the legislation, which tells me that by early next year we should have draft legislation. We have the draft legislation for persons with disabilities. We also have the legislation pretty much complete for the child protection policy,”
    So far we have as Ministries
    MIST and
    PEE Affairs

    Who heads the National Security, Health Information and Technology Ministry

  21. you only here about “new laws to protect” AFTER they have violated these vulnerable group’s human rights and GOT CAUGHT…

    we are now hearing nearly every week that they are no laws to protect the elderly that they all brutalized and violated for the last hundred years…

    their usual fraudulent go nowhere pappyshow of covering their own asses now it’s all exposed to the world……all lies to not do anything, so we can hear the sames things leaking out of them, , WHEN, NOT IF, THEY ARE CAUGHT AGAIN…

    it’s a decades old trend….

  22. bet no many noticed they are once again…LYING TO and LURING the Afrikan population into generational sugar cane bondage…..sleazy, and slick…..them and their lazy sub-species…

  23. “Liz Truss resigns to become shortest serving UK prime minister in history.:

    “Liz Truss has confirmed she is resigning as prime minister after 45 days in office, becoming the shortest serving PM in UK history.”

    When politicians BEG for YOUR VOTES… OWN THEM….you get to CONTROL THEM…they are SUPPOSED TO FEAR YOU THE VOTERS and not the other way around…

    YOU are responsible for making sure they are REMOVED FORTHWITH when they violate your rights, your trust AND THEIR POSITIONS AS YOUR EMPLOYEES…

    this is how you do it….give them no chance to grow roots TO SELL YOU OUT…. …force THEM OUT…in this case it was never a matter of if, but how soon..

  24. Even the magistrate knows if you DON’T STAND UP for yourself, for your rights, no one else will do it for you…

    the voting public should know if they don’t PUT THEIR FEET FIRMLY DOWN on these vote beggars who lie, cheat, deceive, sellout…..that’s all they will get for another 100 years…

  25. The trickle-down effect of DISRESPECT…

    these people are doing jobs that NO ONE ELSE WANTS for themselves or their families, they are NOT ADEQUATELY PAID AND do not get the benefits or salaries that are way better in more developed countries for garbage collecting..

    the least people can do is show them some gratitude and RESPECT….cause if they stop working for one month, you won’t be able to handle the stench of your own stinking garbage…

  26. Town hall on Constitution lived up to billing
    By any objective standards, the efforts of Barbados’ Constitutional Review Commission to give Bajans a clear chance to have their “say” about the new republican constitution for our country is worth the effort.
    All indications suggest the discussions were orderly, conducted in accordance with prescribed procedures, and were robust and decidedly informative. And at the end of what was the first of several planned “town hall” sessions arranged by the diverse panel from across our country, it was clear the forum, entitled Have Your Say, had lived up to its initial billing and should continue using the current format.
    Held in keeping with an earlier pledge made by the commission’s chairman, retired jurist Christopher Blackman, who at different times presided over high courts of Barbados, Belize and The Bahamas, the meeting turned out to be a useful exercise in transparency, correctness, and human rights in a country that was billed decades ago by Freedom House in the United States as being among the world’s freest nations.
    Just as important, the three-hour session at The St Michael’s School, an educational institution once previously known as “Grass Field” in the heart of an upwardly mobile working class community, lived up to an initial
    pledge made by the commission’s chairman days before it was held.
    At the very outset, he said “the meetings will provide an opportunity for members of the public to say what they would wish to see in the Constitution of Barbados”.
    Yes, some of the questions put to the panel by the audience underscored why it was necessary to open up the process of preparation of the draft Constitution that provides for a President as the head of state, a bicameral republican system; features an elected chamber – the House of Assembly, the dominant parliamentary and political partner in the legislative branch of Government and the Senate – and an independent judiciary.
    Questions posed to the commission about Christian prayers, the role of the commission itself, term limits for the Prime Minister and the calling of elections on a specified day every four years, as obtains in the US underscored the importance of providing a channel of communication between the public and the commission.
    It’s one of allaying people’s fears about differences between a republican form of government and a constitutional monarchy and between a ceremonial or executive head of state. They are legitimate questions, which must be answered.
    That brings us back to the town hall approach, whose history can be traced to the American experience of enabling public figures – politicians, administrators and neighbourhood and community leaders – to discuss contentious issues that divide communities.
    Up until relatively recently, the term “town hall” wasn’t familiar to people in Britain, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth of nations.
    With their origins in the 17th century colonial era in North America, town halls are quite common across the United States, and they are designed to allow public figures to establish links between themselves and their constituents.
    Interestingly, although they are called “town halls” they are rarely convened in oldstyle New England municipal town halls but are held in schools, libraries, community institutions, churches and health care institutions.
    In the past decade, Barbados’ leaders have held them in Montreal, Toronto, Brooklyn, Washington, California, and Washington D.C so they can get feedback from Bajans in the diaspora.
    We underscore the importance of such meetings and say: Let them continue!

    Source: Nation

  27. Meeting on constitution tomorrow
    The Constitutional Reform Commission will be hosting another public meeting tomorrow at the Alexandra School, Queen Street, St Peter, beginning at 5 p.m.
    Chairman of the Constitutional Reform Commission, retired judge Christopher Blackman, is encouraging members of the public to attend the meeting and have their say in the shaping of the new constitution.
    Blackman said the commission had already received some
    valuable ideas from those participating in the first meeting and members were looking forward to additional suggestions.
    “Everyone should feel free to come and have their say, as their participation is important, valuable and necessary,” he said. ( BGIS)

The blogmaster dares you to join the discussion.