“We must continue the work of improving the document over time. We must however, not lose sight of the focus on development issues while at the same time honouring the provisions of the constitution,” Mr. Meade, 57 told a ceremony at the Cultural Center soon after he was sworn into office.
Donaldson Romeo, the new Opposition Leader and his opposition colleague, former Chief Minister, Dr Lowell Lewis, have campaigned against the new constitution and have called for various changes to the document.
However, Montserrat’s British governor, Adrian Davis, said officials in London were not considering any amendments at this time.
Mr. Davis said Montserrat was ushering in a “modern constitution for a modern country” after the “culmination of a long process of work and negotiation”.
Mr. Meade told the ceremony that the process of revising the constitution started in 1999 with the advent of the so called White Paper on the Overseas Territories.
The Premier said once the document was approved locally, it was then sent to the British government for consideration by their Parliament and their Privy Council.
Mr. Meade said the constitution, for the first time in the island’s history, provides for a Leader of the Opposition with certain responsibilities.
He said that person will be the head of the Public Accounts Committee, share in the selection of the Public Service Commission and the Electoral Commission, be a member of the National Advisory Council, and other authority now vested legally in the person holding that post.
Mr. Meade also announced that as a result of the new constitution, the functions of the governor will also be changed.
He said the holder of that office will no longer have sole discretionary powers over a range of areas.
Mr. Meade also announced that several new commissions will be created to enable persons to benefit from the fundamental rights provisions through the complaints Commission.
He said Montserratians will also be able to monitor any aspects of perceived corruption on the part of senior public officials to include the members of the Legislative Assembly.