Friday, December 06, 2002

"Nothing so illustrates our WI predicament as the debate we’ve been having about constitution reform.

"We’ve been at it for more than 30 years now; at least since the youth rebellion of the late 1960s first focused the requirement to re-constitute the colonial state. And yet, our gaze remains fixed on the Constitution as law and text and on all kinds of trite problems, solutions to which will make absolutely no difference—unless the root causes are identified and addressed....

"The very large number that has still not made the link between political and party reconstruction, on the one hand, constitution reform and amendment to the Constitution, on the other, is a pledge of a collective failure. We have simply not realised that new dispensations for the individual parts, however well orchestrated, are almost certain to come to nought, if not explicitly designed for a fit into the larger scheme of reform....

"Without an effective cadre of representatives in Parliament, and without a Legislature or Parliament to discipline and instruct the Executive or Government, there is little chance that any requirements at all would be beyond systematic violation. Whether parliamentary procedure or electoral rules, Public Service regulations or public policy specifications, almost the indispensable condition for their successful application is a genuine parliament to defend and protect popular interests.

"In our current arrangement, it is not that the PM 'has too much power', it is that, effectively, we have always had a government without a parliament — except in name — so that the culture of Doctor Politics and maximum leadership can only have flourished."

— The indispensable Lloyd Best, writing in today's Express, again clearly identifies what must be the fundamental principle of our constitution reform process: meaningful representation of the people.

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