Saturday, February 24, 2018

President should have 'check' staff

What are the personnel and financial resources available to the President? I ask this is light of the current issues surrounding Section 34 and the debate about the President's role in the matter.

Why should the President sign off on a piece of legislation without independent certification that it is sound on every possible level? Why should any president be required to merely trust the intent and/or competence of the people in Parliament?

It is clear that the Office of the President should have staff whose job it is to pore over every word, every comma, of every document that comes before the head of state, even if that head of state is a lawyer. The fact that he/she may not be a lawyer makes this need all the more obvious and urgent.

We all know that the people in Parliament are mere politicians, seeking the best interest of party, supporters and clan. Very few, if any, can be seriously described as statesmen and stateswomen. Generally they belong to either this or that tribe. Nothing is wrong with this categorisation, but it means that what they say should never be taken at face value.

I seem to recall that President Richards, in the wake of the fiasco involving a previous Integrity Commission, bemoaned the lack of resources to do background checking on prospective commissioners. Wasn't there talk about allocating more resources to the Office of the President? Why hasn't this problem been given top priority and rectified? Why are we in a similar predicament several years later?

This lack of action suggests a lack of seriousness on the part of those with the power to make the necessary changes.

This is another reason to take a long look at the Constitution.

E Anthony

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