Over the next year, the Constitutional Review Commission will work to produce a report advising the House of Assembly on the way forward toward a stronger Constitution.
But first, they need your help. To that end, they will be seeking input from across the territory at least into next month. The entire community should participate in this important exercise by providing feedback as requested.
Before residents weigh in, though, they should thoroughly educate themselves. This means learning all they can about the current Constitution and the reform possibilities that are on the table 14 years after it took effect.
Fortunately, the commission has made this task easy by publishing several relevant documents, including a report from the previous review, concise summaries of the issues at stake, and others. Besides reading such information, residents must also think seriously about the territory’s political future over the long term. After all, any decisions taken now should surely be conceived with an end goal in mind. Is independence the answer? If not, how exactly should the VI’s political landscape change by 2050? By 2075? By 2100?
In the coming months, some operatives will doubtlessly try to sow confusion in order to score political points as an election looms and the territory enacts the governance reforms recommended by the Commission of Inquiry.
Other residents must push back against such tactics by providing clear and reasoned input on the way forward. This will help the commission draft similarly clear recommendations and produce a report that reflects the will of the people. Elected leaders and other negotiators, in turn, will be able to rely on that report during subsequent talks with the United Kingdom.
Currently, the commission is taking input at public meetings around the territory, at individually scheduled meetings, and in writing via letter and an online submission form. We hope it is flooded with great ideas.
Anyone who stays silent now will be in no position to criticise the territory’s next Constitution, which we hope will mark a major landmark in Virgin Islands history.