PRESIDENT BARROW’S TOUR

The announcement that President Barrow is to undertake a provincial tour has met with divergent views. Many associate the tour with the current electoral campaign for seats in the national Assembly. Some opposition party leaders have expressed concern that the tour is ill timed.

It is important to explain what could or could not be done during the tour if the president chooses to undertake it.

First and foremost every action of the president should be guided by the provisions of the Constitution and other laws of the country. The only section that could be relied on for comment is section 222 paragraph 15  which states:

“The President shall undertake a nation-wide tour at least twice a year in order to familiarise himself or herself with current conditions and the effects of government  policies.”

If we rely on this section he is duty bound not to go beyond familiarising himself with the current situation of the people and the impact of the actions the government has taken so far to address public concerns.

In that regard he is likely to be faulted by the opposition if he gives any signal that tends to impact on the current electoral campaign.

He is likely to utilise government transports and to be accompanied by public servants. It is a requirement of the law that public facilities should not be utlised to engage in campaign.

It is expected that the principal legal adviser for the government who is the Attorney General and Minister of Justice will advise the President on what he should or should not do to be in compliance with the constitution and other laws.