The Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) has been given until next April to complete its work.
The 10-member commission, which was sworn in on June 20 last year to advise the Government on the formulation of a new Constitution, had been given a 15-month period to undertake its tasks, which meant it should have finished this month.
However, in a statement issued by the Government Information Service on Tuesday – just over a month after chairman of the commission retired High Court Justice Christopher Blackman confirmed to Barbados TODAY that at least another five months would be needed – it was disclosed that the life of the CRC has been extended until April 19, 2024.
This was made possible through the Commissions of Inquiry (Constitutional Reform Commission Warrant of Appointment) (Variation) Order, 2023, which was gazetted on September 18.
The Order states that the commission should “present the written report within 22 months from the date of the appointment of the Commission”.
In explaining the Commission’s work and the rationale for the extension, Director General – Governance, Gail Atkins, said: “The work of the CRC is fairly advanced. It has completed consultations locally as well as with the diaspora in the United Kingdom and North America. The CRC has received several submissions from members of the public, at home and abroad, as well as from key stakeholders on matters considered pertinent to the drafting of a new Constitution.
“The CRC is now at the deliberative stage where it is considering all the submissions made to determine the issues that will be contained in its report to be submitted to the President, as well as to provide drafting instructions for the preparation of a new Constitution for Barbados.”
In an interview with Barbados TODAY last month, Blackman said it would not have been possible to meet this month’s original deadline as there were several outstanding areas of proposed reforms still to be examined.
“We have covered citizenship, we have covered defence and security, almost finished the fundamental rights, we have done the preamble, we have done substantial work on the judiciary, and we now have to look at Parliament and the executive, and the public service,” he said at the time.