Multiple recurring themes identified in submissions to CRC
A preliminary analysis of submissions made to the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has identified several recurring themes on what residents want to see in the territory’s next constitution.
January 31 marked the deadline for persons to submit comments to the Commission. And according to the CRC’s Chairperson, Lisa Penn-Lettsome, a lot of the data from respondents had to do with political representation and what general elections should look like going forward.
“We are still going through the submissions but some recurring themes from our public meetings include … being able to vote for the Premier, [and] agreement for more devolution of the Governor’s powers to central government with appropriate checks and balances where necessary,” Penn-Lettsome told BVI News in a recent invited comment.
She said other recurring themes that were proposed included, “the need for greater public consultation of laws before they are passed, a review of the purpose of At-Large system, and various proposals to address representation at the district level.”
Based on the submissions, another recurring theme was the “need for ongoing education on the constitution — including in the schools,” Penn-Lettsome said.
Submissions and public engagements
Since November 1, the CRC has held 39 consultative and educational engagements to include 12 town hall meetings, 22 meetings requested by private audiences, four interviews, and one signature event that was live-streamed with on-demand viewing.
Penn-Lettsome said figures on public engagement will be finalised later in the month. However, she noted that, so far, the engagements have led to the CRC receiving more than 135 written submissions from 82 persons and 250 oral submissions (105 from community meetings and more than 145 from private audiences).
“Our signature event has been viewed 1,400 times. Our most successful interview was viewed 9,000 times across the BVI and the English-speaking Caribbean,” Penn-Lettsome said.
She noted the beginning of the process was marked by great verbal participation at meetings but extremely low written feedback. But at beginning of 2023, the CRC saw a marked improvement in written submissions both in terms of quantity and quality.
“We are obviously very busy organising the submissions now but are extremely excited by the preliminary analysis,” Penn-Lettsome noted.
What comes next
All recommendations will be reviewed over the coming months before the Commission submits its report later in the year. At that time, a negotiating team will be put together to explore the recommendations with the UK Government.
The CRC’s report should primarily be built around recommendations coming from the public. Penn-Lettsome said the improvement in the quality of the submissions as well as the number of submissions increases the chance of comments from the public making it into the final report.
“We remain indebted to all those who participated and I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of my colleagues on the Commission. It will take us several months to write our report,” she added.
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Good start. Keep up the good work. Well done and thanks for the update.
We need our independence fast
Lisa would be great as Premier. She has done wonders for financial services in the interests of our country – level headed, practical and very bright