Sunday, February 18, 2018

Anand lashes out at PNM’s criticisms

 The country has witnessed one of Dr Keith Rowley’s “overwrought shock-and-awe campaigns, in which he initiated some woefully irrational and utterly baseless criticisms on the proposed consti­tutional reforms”, Attorney Gene­ral Anand Ramlogan has said.

Referring to Rowley’s statements on Friday night, Ramlogan said yester­day: “It is clear that his attack is based on fear, deceit and a complete lack

of understanding of true democracy.

Nothing he uttered was reinforced by a justifiable argument and not an iota of evidence was offered. He is using worn-out PNM (People’s Nation­al Movement) scare tactics of panic and intimidation as he seeks to manipulate the psyche of the nation into rejecting change that is good.”

Ramlogan said democracy was not

a static thing and neither is a con­sti­tution. 

“A constitution is a living, breath­ing instrument that grows and evolves with the people whom it serves, as they also grow and evolve. Our society has developed and matured over the last half a century since we gained Independence, and is more

than ready to make informed deci­sions about their political future. To handcuff them to the old structures that were designed for a different time and era in our politics is to encourage political stagnation constitutional stasis.”

He said citizens, for the first time, will be given a real opportunity to explore their constitution and express their concerns. 

“These reforms come from the belly of the people not from the wild imaginations of politicians nor the self-serving interest of the narrow, validating elite,” Ramlogan said.

“These reforms empower the peo­ple and has therefore sent a chill

down the political spine of the PNM.

It has never been their modus operan­di to give power to the people or to engage the population’s intellect: vote for a crapaud in a balisier tie was the mantra.”

He said Dr Rowley made several observations and gave his own com­mentary on the three proposed reforms namely, ‘fixed term limits of the prime minister’, the ‘right of recall’ and ‘run-off or two-round voting’.

“It must be noted that the PNM has suddenly awakened from its slumber to propose amendments to the Constitution of its own. Even while they seek to condemn us for a lack of consultation, we ask when did they consult to arrive at these proposals? Have they abandoned their quest for an executive president? Have they distanced themselves from the Manning constitution that sought to subvert the independence of the judiciary?” Ramlogan asked.