Other OTs would have more interest in constitutional review
Chairperson for the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), Lisa Penn-Lettsome said she believes a constitutional review like the one currently being done in the BVI, would have generated more interest among residents of other British Overseas Territories.
Penn made the statement at the official launch event for the BVI’s constitutional review on November 11. At that time, she bemoaned the fact that the commission had only received eight comments from members of the public and three bookings from persons who wanted to present their views to the commission.
“This goes to the point that’s being made that our people are not taking ownership of this exercise and I don’t buy it when people say ‘I’ve never heard of it’. If you’ve never heard of it (the constitutional review), it probably suggests that it’s something you don’t want to hear about,” Penn said. “As a people we need to take more interest in these things. That’s my view. If this were another overseas territory — let’s put it that way — I think the responses would have been more vibrant.”
Leaders have been urging residents to take the constitutional review seriously as the next constitution will determine the trajectory of the BVI and may not be subjected to many changes in the near future.
Lettsome said the commissioners who are in charge of the review process have put a lot of time into gathering information which residents can access on the official CRC website. She also said they have done radio and television advertisements and other public awareness campaigns to inform residents but these have not managed to yield considerable responses from the community.
The constitutional review is expected to complete its work in one year. Public consultations started on November 1 and are expected to continue for the rest of this year.
Among other things, the CRC is expected to evaluate the powers given to the Governor, the next step towards self-determination for the territory, and how the executive ministerial government can be held to account in the House of Assembly.