Home Commentary Open forum The Delegates Are Going About It the Wrong Way

The Delegates Are Going About It the Wrong Way


Dear Source:
Our constitution, any constitution needs not be more than about twenty to twenty five articles. A constitution, as I understand it, is a document that lay down the principles by which a people will be governed. Based on the principle set forth in the constitution that laws are made and codified in a code. Unfortunately not too many of the present delegates seem to understand what the scope of a constitution is.
I have been to a meeting of the delegates to the constitution convention and my impression confirmed my suspicion, the delegates had not done their homework, they did not do much, if any research of even reading on the concept and mechanics of a constitution. The present constitutional convention is acting more like a regular legislature. They asked for over three million dollars to conduct the convention. They are holding hearings ands the like, they seem to ignore the statutory mandate of the VI Legislature, that they use the proposals in the previous conventions, particularly the fourth constitutional convention.
It is unfortunate that the delegates seems to be practicing to do legislative work rather than attempting to draft a basic document that outline how we intend to administer our government. Basic topics such as citizenship, the rights and obligations of citizens, the basic form of government, an official language or languages, national emblems, the relationship between the branches of government, currency, defining territorial boundaries, relationship with the federal government, etc.
I understand a number of the present delegates have ran for the legislature and lost and others is using the convention as a stepping stone for their political ambition. Each delegate appears to have their own agenda. I will caution the delegates, unless they produce a sensible and relevant document their political aspirations would receive a serious setback, because the people would again reject a proposed document that does not address their basic concerns as a people. I find it very interesting that the same legislators who sponsored the bill and ensured its passage did not provide any leadership in the selection of delegates and the actual development of the convention. The 27th. Legislature, it is said, is not assisting the 5th. Constitutional Convention as other legislatures did, I am told. If this perception is true, the chances of success of the 5th. Constitutional Convention is greatly reduced.
I personally did not participate in the selections of delegates for the convention. My reason was and is, that we have put the cart before the horse. I, like a number of other citizens believe that priority is a mistake. I, like a number of other citizens believe we should consider status first, which is more critical than a constitution at this time in our history. I believe the political parties should have been allowed to participate in the constitutional convention as an institution, a political institution that they are. The three registered political parties should have participated providing their particular political perspective to the process. That is practiced in other democratic nations where political parties are recognized and respected. Some of the politicians who promoted the constitutional convention appears to me to be intellectually dishonest. I believe that many of them realize the status question should take priority but they considered it too difficult a task and opted for the constitutional convention which they believe would give them some political mileage. The thinking people are seeing through the whole charade of these politicians. It is left to the constituents to seek out persons with demonstrated integrity and intelligence in their public performance, to replace those representatives that have disappointed them. We should identify persons we believe can and will represent us well, draft them and support their candidacy and we will prevail. People power can prevail, if we would only unite for our common good. Send a definite message to the politicians that we would not stand for their disrespect any longer. We are assuming control of our government, the people's government. Both elected and appointed public servants would be put on notice that we expect better representation, better public services. In a democratic society the people get the government they deserve because they elect their own representatives.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

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