first_imgThe crafter of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, has clarified that after drafting the new Liberian Constitution and submitting it to President Samuel Kanyon Doe, the President adjusted some parts for reasons not disclosed.Dr. Sawyer has over time been accused by some Liberians for crafting a constitution that made Liberia a secular state and gave lengthy tenures to legislators and the president.Based on this concept, the Constitution Review Committee, now headed by Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, has solicited the views of citizens on the tenures of the president, senators and representatives, which will form a part of the referendum expected to be held next year.Making clarifications in an exclusive interview with this newspaper last weekend at his Governance Commission office, Dr. Sawyer indicated that he and his 25-member National Constitutional Commission structured the tenures of president, senators and representative as six years for senators and four years each for the president and representatives.Contrary to this structure, said Dr. Sawyer, President Doe recommended 9 years for Senators and 6 for the President and Representatives.Dr. Sawyer also told this newspaper that the appointment of Superintendents was structured to be done by the President in consultation with local leaders who would recommend three persons from among whom the President would choose one for each county. He also said the drafted constitution demanded the setting up of a judicial service committee to evaluate the Chief Justice and other justices of the Supreme Court and the judges, but that was left out by President Doe when he reviewed it.On the issue of making Liberia a secular state as enshrined in the 1986 Constitution, Dr. Sawyer said that in order to not create the feeling of discrimination and exclusion by any group, they agreed to make Liberia a secular state with everyone practicing his/her religion without harm to the other.He also argued that the 1847 Constitution did not make Liberia a state of one religion, but clearly stipulated that Liberia is a country wherein everyone is free to practice his/her religion without harming or offending others.The Constitution of 1847 Article 1 Section 3 states: “All men have a natural and unalienable right to worship God, according to the dictates of their own consciences, without obstruction or molestation from others: all persons demeaning themselves peaceably, and not obstructing others in their religious worship, are entitled to the protection of law, in the free exercise of their own religion; and no sect of Christians shall have exclusive privileges or preference,over any other sect; but all shall be alike tolerated: and no religious test whatever shall be required as a qualification for civil office, or the exercise of any civil right.”Arguing on this provision and the need to enjoy peaceful coexistence in the country, Dr. Sawyer said he stands opposed to the call for making Liberia a“Christian state” and that it will not mean well for the country if such a decision is made.He said the National Constitution Commission that drafted the 1986 Constitution did better work and reached all Liberians with the message than the current Constitution Review Committee (CRC). Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgBy Devina SamarooHeavy downpours on an early Sunday morning did nothing to stop scores of workers from leaving the comfort of their homes to participate in the historic Labour Day Rally, during which the two main trade union bodies finally put aside their differences and gyrated in one accord through the streets of Georgetown to soca and chutney tunes – a Guyanese pastime.GTU members along the parade routeUnity messages were aplenty, with trade union leaders echoing all too familiar sentiments: the need to combine forces and use one resounding voice to call attention to the desperate need for better recognition, value and honour for the working class people in society.Decked in red, with umbrellas in hand and colourful banners held high, hundreds of workers gathered at Parade Ground where the march commenced, before making their way onto Main Street then onto the Avenue of the Republic, straight into D’urban Street and then all the way to the National Park for the unity rally, where Government Ministers and representatives of the parliamentary Opposition were also present.GAWU workers marching on SundayKenneth Joseph, General Secretary of both the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) told Guyana Times that it is quite satisfying that there is at last unity among the trade unions.“This is what we were fighting for all the time. We always knew that the workers of the country were never disunited, there was disunity among the labour leaders… Now the two labour organisations can meet and discuss matters of interest to the entire nation,” he stated.Guyana Labour Union (GLU) President Carvil Duncan, whose long serving position has disgruntled some workers, expressed hope of seeing a united movement going forward in addressing workers’ issues and upholding workers’ rights.“It is a wonderful thing and the beginning of unity in the trade union movement and I hope that we can use this May Day celebration when we come together as a catalyst to move forward so we can unite in everything. I want to see a united movement where we can have issues affecting the workers discussed, for example, the teachers have an issue; the mining workers have an issue; the public service has an issue, where they have not gotten an increase in salary yet; those things will be echoed at today’s rally but that is not enough, we need to get together and unite our forces to ensure that we achieve something for our workers,” he stated.Long standing President of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Patrick Yarde noted that Labour Day is an exceptionably important day in the life of any conscientious worker.“Labour Day should be a kind of beacon for solidarity of our working people. It is a day when they should all forget differences and strive for the alternative which is unity among working people. Today is also a day when we reflect on the challenges ahead and there are many challenges ahead and we have got to find ways of overcoming them. We believe power resides in the people and the majority of people are workers and therefore the only thing preventing us from ceasing control of our destiny is disunity, which we must correct,” he stated.Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) President Mark Lytle boasted of his organisation’s contingent being the largest participants in the road march, however, he lamented that despite this fact, teachers are still not being given the priority they deserve.“We’ve always been a Union that celebrates Labour Day but we are of course disappointed that many of the issues we’ve had haven’t been resolved, but we are confident that with a showing like this today, it will also indicate to our employers and Government that you will have to address our issues,” he posited.Additionally, a representative of the Guyana Local Government Officers Union who identified herself as Cathy Fowler emphasised that while Guyana has come a long way in the trade union movement, not much is being done to honour the achievements which Nathaniel Hubert Critchlow fought for.“Today is a day where workers look forward for unity. We want strength, we want togetherness as workers, we want to know that as workers, we can achieve. In my view, we are only receiving a portion of what Critchlow has done for us because there are so many indifferences going on and I am really disturbed over it,” she expressed.Particularly, the worker noted that workers’ rights are still being flouted by management – a practice she urged to reach an immediate halt.Meanwhile, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and Junior Social Protection Minister with responsibility for labour Keith Scott, along with other Government members participated in the parade. …moments later trade unionist/politicians clash over workers’ rightslast_img read more