Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Yesterday, just as Julian Kenny was criticising them on this subject, T&T's independent senators at last introduced the matter of constitution reform to debate in the Upper House, reports the Express:

"Under the existing Constitution the Prime Minister has too much power. That was the main point emerging from the contribution of Independent Senator Professor Ken Ramchand as he introduced his private motion on constitutional reform in the Senate yesterday.

"Ramchand claimed that the Cabinet had repeatedly violated the Constitution and that the system of government practised in this country 'ought to be described as Prime Ministerial rule'."

The UNC claims they're all in favour; Robin Montano even says the opposition will withdraw the whip & allow its senators to speak & vote freely (will they even know how to?). But, Parliament being what it is in T&T — a prime ministerial rubber stamp — much depends on whether the Manning government decides to get involved — &, with a reasonably safe majority for the next five years, & oil & gas money gushing in, why would Manning want to rock this boat?

Meanwhile, the irascible Denis Solomon says none of this will go anywhere if citizens don't get into the habit of critically examining political & civic questions at an early age:

"The Constitution should certainly be the subject of study in schools. Not in the hand-on-the-heart, salute-the-flag, pledge-of-allegiance style of patriotic brainwashing, but as part of a well-taught and properly graduated civics curriculum, designed to stimulate critical faculties.

"If these faculties are not awakened at an early stage in the child’s development, he turns into the kind of zombified Gospel-spouting adult for whom politics is encapsulated in phrases like 'Eric Williams was the second greatest man in the world'."

But if there's one change that would be more difficult to effect than constitution reform, it's meaningful education reform. I suspect we have about as much chance of the one as of the other. I wish those fellas down in the Red House would prove me wrong.

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