16th February 2016
The Head of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC), Dr. Clarence Henry, has described as a ‘mammoth undertaking’ the work of the Committee that is spearheading the public education campaign on whether or not Antigua and Barbuda remains with the Privy Council or adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice as its Final Court of Appeal.
Dr. Henry’s insightful observation came during his presentation and charge when he addressed the inaugural meeting of the NCC at the National Authorizing Office on Thursday.
The NCC Chairman noted that both political parties have agreed to the need for a comprehensive public education and sensitization campaign ahead of any Referendum where the electorate will determine the course of action.
"It was recognized that the exercise would be a mammoth undertaking given the scarcity of knowledge regarding the Privy Council and the CCJ. This is so because there has not been any prior public sensitization regarding the Privy Council and the CCJ for instance: the jurisdiction, integrity, competence of judges and insulation from political interference," he observed.
He added that in order to distill information to allow the public to make an informed decision on whether to adopt the CCJ in its appellate jurisdiction or remain with the Privy Council, requires the development of a comprehensive public education campaign.
Dr. Henry told the NCC members that they have the responsibility to develop and implement the public education campaign utilizing primary and secondary approaches, including the production of new material, research of existing sources while at the same time optimizing traditional media sources such as the production of a magazine, publish articles in newspapers, radio and television interviews and advertisements, a 30-minute video, jingles and at least one calypso. The NCC will also rely heavily on the use of social media particularly in its outreach to young people.
"The utilization of credible sources for validation of facts pertaining to the Privy Council and the CCJ with special attention on dispelling public fallacies," he stated.
The NCC members present gave a firm commitment to the task and they all expressed a strong desire to undertake what they saw as an opportunity to provide national service at a critical juncture in Antigua and Barbuda’s development.
The public education and sensitization campaign starts with an official launch and public sector consultation on March 10 and a youth forum on March 11. There will also be a business breakfast on March 22 organized in conjunction with the Antigua Chamber of Commerce. There are also plans to meet with other stakeholder groups such as the Bar Association, the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, the trade unions, the service clubs as well as a series of public consultations at strategic venues across Antigua. There are also plans to visit Barbuda for a three-day series of engagements with key stakeholders including young people.
Dr. Henry indicated that the campaign was timed to begin following the debates on the 2016 National Budget in both houses of Parliament. He also disclosed that the government has allocated a preliminary Budget of just over EC$1.5 million towards the exercise.
For Further Information Contact: Susan Daley-Matthias
Office of the National Authorising Officer
Tel: (268) 562-4504/05
Email: Click Here