What’s wrong with the Constitution?

On this week’s TALK with Rick Wayne (DBS), the host sought to focus on some of the House contributions two days earlier. Zoning in on prime minister Kenny Anthony, Wayne said there was something the prime minister had said on Tuesday afternoon that had caught his ear and reminded him of Thomas Jefferson. “What the prime minister said was this,” the TV host recalled, ‘We have to be careful how we nourish the tree of democracy.’ Thomas Jefferson, for his part had said: ‘The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.’ ”

Left: Prime Minister Kenny Anthony  says the Suzie d’Auvergne report is a product of the times. Right:  Rick Wayne shared with TALK viewers on Thursday evening his take on the constitution reform proposals.

Left: Prime Minister Kenny Anthony says the Suzie d’Auvergne report is a product of the times. Right: Rick Wayne shared with TALK viewers on Thursday evening his take on the constitution reform proposals.

He went on: “I am personally less disturbed by what the revered US president said than by what our omnipotent prime minister told us. For instance when the prime minister says we have to be careful how we nourish the tree of democracy, who is we? Is he just using the royal we, or is he talking only about himself? Because I don’t know how it is possible for us to nourish the tree of democracy. Only the prime minister can do that. He holds all the cards, with his limitless power—given and assumed.”

Returning to the deputy prime minister’s contribution to last week’s discussion of the Suzie d’Auvergne Commission’s proposals for constitutional reform, Wayne said he agreed with Phillip J Pierre when the Castries East MP and deputy prime minister said the Constitution of Saint Lucia has served us well. He added that the people already had most of the rights touched on during the House discussions: the right to work, freedom of expression, freedom of association and so on.

“So what precisely was the purpose of the Suzie d’Auvergne assignment?” Wayne asked. “I don’t know and none of the politicians mentioned it. Perhaps they, too, don’t know.” As for the prime minister, Wayne said his address on Tuesday had been very carefully crafted. It was “interesting but very careful about what it left out regarding the history of our Constitution.” Moreover, there was not a word, not a word, not a word from the prime minister and his colleagues on both sides of the House about what the Constitution needed.”

“If I were on that floor,” Wayne went on, “my first question would be: Why are we meddling with the Constitution? If it ain’t broke, why fix it? What exactly is wrong with the Constitution? And I would answer that the one shortcoming is that the prime minister has too much power, too much authority.”

Wayne reminded viewers that Pierre had disagreed with what he had seen as an effort by the commission to curtail some of the prime minister’s power. “Pierre actually suggested the prime minister should be further empowered,” Wayne said. “He equated the prime minister with a company’s CEO ‘who has to have power over his employees.’ What Pierre failed to understand is that a CEO and a PM are not nearly the same. The CEO of a private company has a particular relationship with his employees. But the prime minister is a servant of the people. So are his ministers. So is Pierre. So are all who work in the public services. They are all servants of, and accountable to, the people at all times.”

The TV host also observed that both the prime minister and his deputy had underscored with expressed regret what they believed was the commission’s determination to make the prime minister more accountable to the people.

He went on: “Kenny Anthony admitted he had noted the commission’s obsession with the authority of the prime minister and by all he said, he believed the commission had not aptly explained things to the people they interviewed. But why such an assumption? It is obvious that local prime ministers effectively have more power than Obama and Cameron combined. Local prime ministers account to no one. Not even to their Cabinet or to the governor general. Alleged checks and balances don’t apply to them. A prime minister in Saint Lucia can do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases. He has the authority given to him by the Constitution and he has the authority he takes upon himself with impunity. Our constitution does not provide for sanctions for government officials who are a law unto themselves. That is why Rochamel and Grynberg and the other scandals occurred with no one having to answer related questions. But during the most recent House sessions the people heard not a word, not a word, not a word about that!”

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3 Responses to What’s wrong with the Constitution?

  1. What’s right with the constitution Toni Mac Daddy ?? Some of you think what the so called founding fathers drafted 30 plus years ago is written on stone tables and how dare you question it’s act. Some of us are complaining about the lack of transparency of the powers of the prime minister, the lack of check and balances and they are the same one stating if it’s not broken why fix it ( they know themselves). When you look at life in St Lucia today do you really think everyone is enjoying the provisions of the constitution ?? As far as I am concern every democratic drafted constitution should be revised, revisited, retooled and amended if necessary every 30 to 40 years to curtailed to the needs of its citizen as socio economic and growing pains of that country evolves.

  2. John Joseph says:

    Rick, how long have you being a native of this old weathered rock? Longer than I have for sure. So why are you surprised, if you are, that the essentials were not provided in what passes for analysis and debate in the rouse of dis-assembly. There is a pretense of democracy in St Lucia, you know that. And let’s face it, the only aspect of democracy that is allowed any chance of working is the idea of adult suffrage. I man one vote, and even that malfunctions as the process is subverted continuously by the buying of votes for the mere price of chicken and rum and the promise of school books for the “malaway” conveniently so called. No to even mention the gerrymandering with the boundries as convenient to sitting governments. So Rick stop the pissing in your own eye.

  3. Anon says:

    So…what happens next? Nothing, nothing, nothing?

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