THE GHOST OF THE ELECTIONS AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION BILL By Sir Lawrence A. Joseph

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On 24th November 2016, Grenadians were given the opportunity to make certain changes to the Constitution by way of seven referendums. In particular the Elections and Boundaries Commission Bill was earmarked to ensure that an Elections and Boundaries Commission would be established in accordance with the Constitution in order to take over the functions of the Supervisor of Elections and the Constituency Boundaries Commission. The Elections and Boundaries Commission would have comprised five members: two nominated by the government, two by the main opposition party and a chairman appointed by the Governor-General after he or she would have consulted with civil society organizations.

This was not to be. Now it seems that the ghost of the Elections and Boundaries Commission Bill is coming back to haunt us as concerns are presently being expressed over the recent reshuffling of certain registration officers. Had the Constitution been altered in accordance with the Elections Bill and the appropriate amendments been made to the Representation of the People Act those concerns would have been completely out of place. The present situation is that section 29 (1) of the Representation of the People Act, authorizes the Governor-General acting in his or her own deliberate judgment to appoint fit and proper persons as registration officers for each constituency. Section 35 provides that these officers shall be appointed annually which indicates that the reappointment of registration officers is not automatic. In making a determination as to who may be appointed as registration officers, a Governor-General may take several factors into consideration. These may include physical and mental incapacities on the part of potential appointees, their lack of knowledge of the constituency to which they are intended to be assigned, their irrational political bias, and their advanced age. Notwithstanding these factors, a Governor-General is not compelled to give any reasons for the nonreappointment of registration officers nor for the appointment of new ones as the authority is being exercised “in his or her own deliberate judgment.” Registration officers have the overall responsibility of ensuring that all eligible persons who reside within particular constituencies and are willing to become registered as electors do become registered. In practice these officers do not handle the day to day registration of electors but are assisted by assistant registration officers who are the persons who perform the real “bull work” on a day to day basis. It is a part time job for the registration officer but a full time one for the assistant registration officer. In fact a significant number of registration officers do have full time employment elsewhere and only make periodic checks on the work of the assistant registration officers from time to time. In contrast to what was being proposed in the Elections Bill, Section 35 of the Grenada Constitution presently authorizes the Governor-General to appoint a Supervisor of Elections who must be “a person holding or acting in such public office as may for the time being be designated in that behalf.” The Supervisor is responsible for exercising “general supervision over the registration of voters in elections of the members of the House of Representatives and over the conduct of elections.” Section 56 of the Constitution authorizes a Constituency Boundaries Commission to have a constant review of constituency boundaries and submit reports to the Governor-General. In the case where any recommendation is made for the alteration of electoral boundaries, the House of Representatives would have to pass the appropriate resolution in order to effectuate any change. It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

These may include physical and mental incapacities on the part of potential appointees, their lack of knowledge of the constituency to which they are intended to be assigned, their irrational political bias, and their advanced age. Notwithstanding these factors, a Governor-General is not compelled to give any reasons for the nonreappointment of registration officers nor for the appointment of new ones as the authority is being exercised “in his or her own deliberate judgment.” Registration officers have the overall responsibility of ensuring that all eligible persons who reside within particular constituencies and are willing to become registered as electors do become registered. In practice these officers do not handle the day to day registration of electors but are assisted by assistant registration officers who are the persons who perform the real “bull work” on a day to day basis. It is a part time job for the registration officer but a full time one for the assistant registration officer. In fact a significant number of registration officers do have full time employment elsewhere and only make periodic checks on the work of the assistant registration officers from time to time. In contrast to what was being proposed in the Elections Bill, Section 35 of the Grenada Constitution presently authorizes the Governor-General to appoint a Supervisor of Elections who must be “a person holding or acting in such public office as may for the time being be designated in that behalf.” The Supervisor is responsible for exercising “general supervision over the registration of voters in elections of the members of the House of Representatives and over the conduct of elections.” Section 56 of the Constitution authorizes a Constituency Boundaries Commission to have a constant review of constituency boundaries and submit reports to the Governor-General. In the case where any recommendation is made for the alteration of electoral boundaries, the House of Representatives would have to pass the appropriate resolution in order to effectuate any change. It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

In practice these officers do not handle the day to day registration of electors but are assisted by assistant registration officers who are the persons who perform the real “bull work” on a day to day basis. It is a part time job for the registration officer but a full time one for the assistant registration officer. In fact a significant number of registration officers do have full time employment elsewhere and only make periodic checks on the work of the assistant registration officers from time to time. In contrast to what was being proposed in the Elections Bill, Section 35 of the Grenada Constitution presently authorizes the Governor-General to appoint a Supervisor of Elections who must be “a person holding or acting in such public office as may for the time being be designated in that behalf.” The Supervisor is responsible for exercising “general supervision over the registration of voters in elections of the members of the House of Representatives and over the conduct of elections.” Section 56 of the Constitution authorizes a Constituency Boundaries Commission to have a constant review of constituency boundaries and submit reports to the Governor-General. In the case where any recommendation is made for the alteration of electoral boundaries, the House of Representatives would have to pass the appropriate resolution in order to effectuate any change. It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

In contrast to what was being proposed in the Elections Bill, Section 35 of the Grenada Constitution presently authorizes the Governor-General to appoint a Supervisor of Elections who must be “a person holding or acting in such public office as may for the time being be designated in that behalf.” The Supervisor is responsible for exercising “general supervision over the registration of voters in elections of the members of the House of Representatives and over the conduct of elections.” Section 56 of the Constitution authorizes a Constituency Boundaries Commission to have a constant review of constituency boundaries and submit reports to the Governor-General. In the case where any recommendation is made for the alteration of electoral boundaries, the House of Representatives would have to pass the appropriate resolution in order to effectuate any change. It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

In the case where any recommendation is made for the alteration of electoral boundaries, the House of Representatives would have to pass the appropriate resolution in order to effectuate any change. It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

It was most unfortunate that electors turned down a most historic opportunity to amend the Constitution in order to make the electoral process more transparent. Additionally, the opportunity was turned down to improve the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, to guarantee that both men and women must have the same opportunities in all spheres of life, to make special provisions for people with disabilities, to guarantee free educational tuition to young persons, to curtail the power of the Prime Minister and government, to ensure that corruption in public office is minimized, to enable final appeals from the courts to be more accessible and less costly, and to engender a spirit of nationalism amongst all nationals in the islands of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, among other things. It is to be hoped that the ghosts of other constitutional amendment Bills would not come back to haunt us. For example, the present UK Privy Council as our final Court of Appeal instead of the Caribbean Court of Justice may well be inclined to endorse same sex marriages in Grenada, to the chagrin of many.

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