Results show lack of appetite for constitutional reform – gov’t


The government has been examining its apporach to possibile constitutional reform following a poor showing in the November 6 referendum.

Although the number of registered voters is nearly 53,000 voters, only one-third of the total or 17,743 voters participated in the referendum.

“The non-participation of more than 35,000 voters was a powerful signal, deemed a clear indication of the absence of interest in constitutional reform,” a Cabinet statement said.

The Cabinet is of the view that the disappointing results could be accounted for by the politicization of the referendum by opposition political forces.

The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) decided to abide by principle and not engage in politicizing the issue, according to the government.

“The ABLP held no public meetings, or did no house-to-house campaigning, nor did its elected members link the CCJ referendum to an ABLP ambition; the effort was apolitical and nationalist,” the Cabinet agreed.

It added “the political opposition, through its many surrogates and its leaders, did its best to politicize the referendum and to undermine the non-political effort. The Cabinet recalled the pronouncements of the two opposition elected officials, its Senators, and surrogates that supported the opposition in the March 2018 general elections.”

Judging from the outcome, the Cabinet has decided to examine the breadth of the constitutional reform which the Committee will reform, especially those proposed changes which would require a referendum.

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  1. So driving around town on loudspeakers campaigning for the CCJ does not qualify as politicizing.

    Telling your supporters and fellow MP collleages to get in line and even chiding the opposition leader to do the same with their followers is not politicizing.

    Going on the radio and telling your supporters to vote the CCJ is not politicizing.

    What’s the difference between going house to house and going from Point FM to household

    So the cabinet sat and redefined politicizing as going door to door and holding public meeting then cleared themselves of any wrongdoing and patted themselves on the back for keeping it non political. Are these people delusional

    Sounds like a page out of Orwell’s Animal Farm

    All I can say is this is the reason why we need The Privy Council more than ever.

    • I am usually a supporter of PM Browne, but on your points I cannot argue with you, because you make some valid points.

  2. No. The results show that people do NOT trust politicians. The referendum became highly politicized and this was a turn-off to many. Now that you didn’t get your desired results you are acting like a spoiled brat. You are not ready. You are not ready to deal with a mature electorate weary of political rhetoric.

  3. I see the CCJ and Constitutional Reform as two totally separate issues. You can’t have constitutional reform for Antigua just because you reject being a part of a sham Caribbean court? Give me a break.

    Antigua needs its own constitution updated and simplified. Don’t use our rejection of the CCJ as a reason to get lazy and not embark on updated and simplifying our constitution. We need updates in our constitution like stronger privacy protections in the digital age, the right to speedier trials, a strong protection for the presumption of innocence for those accused, and the equality of all citizenship types, including our CIP citizens.

    Also, we can propose that we create an Antigua and Barbuda Supreme Court (ABCSC) as our final court of appeal, rather than relying on the CCJ or the Privy Council. I think many people would be happy to have this concept proposed.

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