It is entirely right, proper and fitting that this country should have its Constitution reconstituted by this man

Published: March 29, 2013 at 7:02pm

There is just one problem, however. One of the main purposes of the Constitution is safeguarding and shoring up the rights of minorities against the depredations of the majority.

6 Comments Comment

  1. Wilson says:

    He should know what that is. He was kidnapped into an LP kazin against his will be a significant majority :)

  2. Gahan says:

    That’s the grand entry into Jerusalem complete with the ass ride , while people shout “Hosanna”!

  3. francis says:

    why didn’t they change the consitution before Daf? and the 101 other things?

    [Daphne – It doesn’t need changing, Francis, except to get rid of that neutrality business. The Constitution safeguards our rights perfectly, so it follows that any changes will affect that negatively. What 101 other things? Party financing? Law courts reform? Whistleblower Act? Or making sure we didn’t go down the road to economic hell? Keep a sense of perspective. And that is quite apart from the fact that these five years were hell thanks to the Loyal Opposition and a bunch of government backbenchers who thought and still do that it’s all about them.]

    • La Redoute says:

      One of Debono’s ideas of improving our system of checks and balances is to have criminal libel repealed as long as civil libel convictions carry harsher penalties. That is not the act of a liberal. That is the act of a mono-maniac hell-bent on visiting revenge on anyone who has ever mocked him.

  4. Lomax says:

    I’m worried sick about this Constitution business. We do not need to amend our constitution. We need to remove some dead letters (chiefly neutrality clause) but, apart from that, it is a very good, solid constitution which has served us well in the toughest of times. Our human rights charter is absolutely fine which is further bolstered by the European Convention of Human Rights.

    Why, pray, do we need to reconstitute our constitution and, above all, how will it be amended?

    We, as a people, need to be very careful. The reality is that in this day and age, our fundamental human rights can be whittled so subtly that it would very difficult to prove it in court. It is not the age when people will be shot at in the streets (at least, I hope so) but these are the days when persecution for lawful expression of one’s opinion, (for example) can be done so subtly, so quietly, so stealthily that it can easy become the order of the day without people even realizing.

    Manuel Mallia’s reaction to PBO “send him to prison” is perhaps a hyperbolic expression of how subtle persecution can become. Being imprisoned is, of course, not subtle. However, active persecution, depriving a person of what should be legally his (the right to voice his mind without fear or reprisal or persecution), toying with the institutions to make them serve one’s own ends is serious.

    Extremely extremely worrying is the suggestion that any constitutional amendment can be subjected to the popular vote. If rubbed the right way, people can be made to vote against even their own mother. But are the people versed well-enough in constitutional matters to be in a position to vote for or against constitutional amendments? Of course not. Even lawyers will tell you that, unless they are public lawyers (lawyers specialised in constitutional law) they would prefer to not give advice on certain matters, given that constitutional and public law are very specialised fields of law. Let alone Joe public.

    The people might feel flattered that they are being consulted. However, subjecting such amendments to the people would mean essentially that the government want to checkmate the opposition. The opposition would still have the opportunity to vote against the amendments but this would essentially mean that it is not respecting the “will” of the people. Whether the will is authentic or coaxed out of the people is another matter altogether. But it would certainly appear, prima facie, that the people have spoken.

    I also note that there is no agenda on this constitutional reform. What is the aim of the reform? Normally, when you want to reform something in life, you have an aim. I want to reform myself to lose weight, I want to reform something to get a proper education, a better job, a higher salary. Whatever. We all have our aims – and sometimes, we need to reform our lives to reach our aims.

    However, I note there is no overt agenda. Nothing declared. Just a “second republic”. What does this REALLY mean? Would the removal of the neutrality clause justify calling it a “constitutional reform” and “a second republic” or is something more sinister going on?

    Will the constitution be turned into a presidential models? The French and the US constitutions are prime examples: the people elect the President of the Republic and then he can form his cabinet out of the “competents” rather than the elected. Again, prima facie, this seems to be aces. However, what it essentially means is that the people are giving absolute power to just one person.

    That one person can dispense and wield power in any way he deems fit. The people may be either intelligent and elect the right person or lucky and elect the right person. But what if they are neither one nor the other? Would we Maltese want to give unlimited power to just one man? Indeed, our current system gives the poeple the power to elect an ignoramus who would eventually be given a portfolio.

    However, a minister’s power is limited to the damage he can do to his portfolio. It can have disastrous consequences needless to say. But still, his power is curtailed nonetheless. However, the presidential model gives unlimited power to just one man/woman (with a whole set of checks and balances which, however, in a country as twisted as ours might not be enough) which would essentially mean that if the man is twisted, crooked, ignorant, deviant, narcissistic and so on, we, as a people, would be in deep murky waters (not to use that other four-letter word which is usually preceded by “deep”).

    These are just my errant thoughts and reflections as I have always been highly distrusting of the words “constitutional reform” when stringed together particularly when there seems to be no objective to be achieved. It is also, perhaps, premature to start fearing the unknown. However, if I’m reading the signs well enough, we will know soon enough that what is being hailed as the “second republic” will be nothing short of bestowing of unlimited power upon the man who will emerge as the “creator” of the reform – the present Prime Minister.

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