16 Jul 2008

Whose draft constitution?

Pa-trick unveiled a dubious new proposed constitution recently, making it clear that he was not the author of the document. In fact, he was at great pains to disclaim responsibility.

The people charged with writing the new constitution in the past, have now disclaimed that they authored this new one that Pa-trick presented. So whither did it come from?

SIR ELLIS CLARKE, this country’s first President and the key architect of TT’s Constitution, yesterday completely disowned a ‘working document’ which proposes far-reaching constitutional reform and which was unveiled by Prime Minister Patrick Manning on Sunday.

“I disown it completely,” Sir Ellis, 91, said in a telephone interview with Newsday yesterday afternoon.

Manning said the document was not authored by the roundtable of academics and government ministers which he appointed to produce a draft constitution. Manning did not say exactly who prepared it. Sir Ellis, a member of the roundtable, said he had not seen the document and was unable to comment on the minutiae of any of the proposals of the document. Newsday yesterday reported that new proposals have taken members of the roundtable, which is due to meet today, by surprise. Even members of the PNM’s caucus privately admitted to being taken by surprise by Manning’s


“He (Manning) says it’s not his. I don’t know whose draft it is, it certainly is not

mine and I don’t think anybody on the roundtable will claim it. It’s nobody’s baby,” Sir Ellis said yesterday. “If it is nobody’s draft then let’s wait and see.”

My own opinion is that Sir Ellis put his own integrity on the line by writing the ta-ta of the first few drafts. Even if he was requested to do so by Pa-trick, the provisions laid out in that would have any man of integrity squirming in guilt. To even write it, one would know that all the years of pious integrity by Sir Ellis has been washed down the drain. Clearly he is no Sir Thomas More. I cannot help but think that Noor Hassanali would have told Pa-trick (diplomatically of course, he being the statesman that he was) where to go and take a flying leap. I guess no one can blame me then if I look at Sir Ellis as being in Pa-trick's back pocket.

Just goes to show, any lawyer can be bought if the price is right.

Anyway, back to this new draft constitution. It is to be laid in Parliament next month apparently. One wonders how many 'independent' senators have already been told to vote for it, and how much "kuchoor" the opposition will make. Because, let's face it, this Opposition is a joke. With the PNM having a majority in Parliament, this is the best time time for Pa-trick to push ahead with all the changes he wants. Autocracy indeed.

I predicted before the elections of last year that Pa-trick will indeed foist this on us, and so said, so done. So far, I have an excellent record of my predictions coming true.

I foresee a lot of debate in the country about this new proposed constitutions, but it will be in rum shops and everywhere else but Parliament. And maybe in time, we will have that Executive Dictator.