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Justice Suzie d’Auvergne to Chair Constitutional Review Commission

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 – Government will soon activate the Commission for the Review of the Constitution of
Saint Lucia, which will be chaired by a prominent retired judge. That’s the word from
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony.

The Prime Minister announced Monday that he had finally received. the nominations of the Opposition for membership of the Commission and their concurrence that it will be chaired by distinguished retired judge, Madam Justice Suzie d’Auvergne.

The Prime Minister, who promised to make Constitutional Reform a priority of his government since first taking office in 1997, said now that the Opposition had finally made its nominations, the Government “will now move to effect the appointments and operationalise the Commission.”

It was on November 21, 2003, that the Prime Minister and the then Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Arsene James, jointly announced bipartisan parliamentary support for the establishment of the proposed Commission to Review and Reform the Constitution.

They told a press conference at the House of Assembly that they had agreed the review and reform process was necessary, as the Constitution was then about to be 25 years old.

The Prime Minister outlined the approaches and steps necessary to activate the commission, including nomination of members and agreement on a Chairman.

It was also agreed that the Commission would include nominees of the Government and Opposition parties, and Civil Society, but it would exclude members o the House of Assembly or the Senate.

The Terms of Reference would include two years of work by the widely representative Commission, to be chaired by a nominee jointly agreed upon by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and appointed by the Governor General.
On February 17, 2004, the House of Assembly adopted a Resolution on the Establishment of the proposed Commission to Review and Reform the Constitution of Saint Lucia. The Senate adopted the same resolution on April 14, 2004.

Known as Statutory Instrument No. 50 of 2004, the! Resolution of Parliament was published in the official St. Lucia Government Gazette on July 16, 2004.

The objectives of the exercise, according to the Resolution, would include “promotion of a meaningful expansion and widening of democratic participation by Citizens in Government.” It would also “address possible weaknesses in the Constitutional framework which political practice has highlighted over the years.”

In addition, the exercise would “re-fasion the Constitution so that it better accords with our changing social and political circumstances” and it would also “promote better governance and greater equity in the constitutional framework generally.”

On September 20 2004, Prime Minister Anthony wrote to various national. organizations and entities inviting them to name nominees for the proposed commission.

Speaking on the issue on radio St. Lucia’s Monday evening programme In the Public Interest (IPI), the Prime Minister said now that the Government had the concurrence of the Opposition, the process of appointing the nominated members will soon get under way.

Noting that the Commission will have to report “no less than 24 months after its appointment,” the Prime Minister said he expected its work to continue “beyond the next general election.”

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