The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) today handed over $5M to the
University of Guyana (UG) as funding for Constitutional Reform
UG’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith received the cheque
from Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo this morning at the OPM.
The Constitutional Reform Education programme is a collaboration
between the OPM, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and
the University of Guyana.
Prime Minister Nagamootoo explained that constitutional reform is not
for “sloganeering” nor should it be used as an electioneering
“What I see happening is an attempt by politicians, when it is
convenient to politicians, to talk about Constitutional Reform outside
of the context of what it means to the ordinary person, whether or not
the ordinary person understands the Constitution,” PM Nagamootoo
Politics, the Prime Minister noted, is often used as a purveyor of
divisiveness rather than fostering unity, even in the case of
constitutional reform, which should be seen as a good for the society.
He then pointed to UG’s role in making the constitution more relatable
for the wider public.
The OPM and UNDP have been working on the project document for some
time and UG has been included at this juncture as education is part of
UNDP Resident Representative, Mikiko Tanaka said after a 2016 mission,
it was determined that consensus across political parties and public
education were the two pillars of constitutional reform.
She noted that “any discussion around reforming would require that
understanding of what is in the Constitution or what is lacking or
what needs to be changed.”
UNICEF engaged UG, the OPM, Civil Society groups and other
stakeholders in the process.
Professor Griffith noted his satisfaction with the university’s role
in the process. “It’s a journey, that is not a sprint but it’s a
marathon and along marathons, there are important milestones, and this
is an important milestone,” he noted.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Barbara Reynolds said a survey and the
education awareness programme will extend beyond the Coastland to
ensure Guyanese from all regions are involved.
Under the Coalition administration, the Constitutional Reform
Consultative Commission Bill was laid in Parliament in July 2017.
The Bill identifies 100 communities in each administrative region for
consultations and hearings to be conducted by the Constitution Reform
Commission, with a view that “no one be left behind.”
As an extension of the Constitutional Reform Education programme, OPM
will print 500 copies of the Constitution which will be handed over to
schools and Toshaos across the country. This will be done before the
close of 2018.