COP leader: Let Section 34 be a lesson for the nation
THE privilege of being free to “chart our own destiny” must not be abused, Congress of the People (COP) leader Prakash Ramadhar said in his Republic Day message yesterday.
As he addressed the Section 34 debacle that led to the sacking of his Cabinet colleague Herbert Volney last Thursday Ramadhar said liberty was provided for in the Constitution and it must be acknowledged, at all times, that this comes with responsibility.
“On no occasion should we use this leverage to undermine our young democracy,” Ramadhar said.
“Rather mutual respect and trust amongst the lead practitioners of this democratic way are fundamental if our nation is to flower.”
“As a growing democracy 36 years later, there is need to revisit the Constitution with the expressed intent of deepening our democratic systems as we aim to move rapidly towards developed nation governance,” he said.
“Today, citizens’ expectations are diverse and urgent. The concept of our institutions acting independently is one to be respected.
“It is also necessary to strengthen the democratic process with proper checks and balances.
“Our political leadership is well advised to move away from raw electoral politics in favour of a system of progressive democracy, where values such as trust, honesty, accountability, transparency, mutual respect honour, and dignity are the norms.
“Every patriot of our nation aches for this. In this regard the Honourable Prime Minister’s (Kamla Persad-Bissessar) and the rest of the People’s Partnership Government’s historic manner of dealing with the recent Section 34 matter is very instructive. From here on no wrongdoing shall be condoned. Public office is a sacred duty and personal agendas are grave sins.”
Ramadhar said it is essential that the Caribbean pay better attention to the concept of “true nationhood”.
He also continued to advocate for Constitutional change.
“An immediate revision of our constitution facilitating a higher level of participatory governance among other objectives, is very timely,” Ramadhar said.
“Government of the people, by the people, for the people must be practiced at the widest possible level. The events of the ‘Arab Spring and Autumn’ are painful political-sociological lessons.”
He called for commitment to a better nation and for the inclusion of “every man, woman and child” in the revision of the Constitution.