The National Coordinating Committee (NCC) says the format for the upcoming town-hall meetings will change.
According to NCC Chairman, Ambassador Dr. Clarence Henry, the Committee, which is spearheading the public consultations on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC), intends to have a smaller panel and to limit the presentations to allow for more interaction with the audience.
Dr. Henry said this was one of outcomes of a review of the first town hall meeting held Monday night at the Multipurpose Cultural Centre. It featured a five-man panel with Dr. Henry performing the role of moderator.
“In the future the format of the town hall meetings must change to allow for three panellists thereby providing more opportunities to ask questions and for the panel to respond appropriately,” he stated.
The NCC chairman is also appealing for more people to attend the town hall meetings and to put their questions and or concerns directly to the panel. “We will be able to provide clear, succinct information to dispel doubts. We will address any concerns they may have while at the same time we are encouraging members of the public to visit the NCC website,” he declared.
According to Dr. Henry there’s much misinformation floating about and this he believes has led to a sense of apathy among some people. He however said he has much faith in the people of Antigua and Barbuda to make ‘an informed choice’ when the time comes to vote in the referendum on whether the country maintains the JCPC or accede to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ.
Speaking about Monday’s session, Dr. Henry said each town hall is a unique undertaking and it is difficult to anticipate what questions may come from the audience. His advice is that each panel should be sufficiently prepared to answer any question and or comments emanating from the public.
“On Monday night, with the panel that we had, we were able to address a variety of concerns, and as we continue this campaign over the next few months we will visit communities across the length and breadth of this nation and by the time we are finished, I believe people would be much clearer of where we are,” he remarked.
He also confirmed that the next town hall session is slated for Barbuda on October 13. While in Barbuda, meetings have been arranged with the Barbuda Council, the Barbuda People’s Movement and students at the Sir McChesney George High School.