QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS PERTAINING TO VATRA’S COMMISSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES /
Q: When was VATRA’s Constitution and By-Laws adopted?
A: VATRA’s Constitution was adopted in 1912. It was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 13 of the same year.
Q: Was there a time when the need for amendments was discussed and what prompted them?
A: There have been discussions of upgrades or revising amendments in a document that is over 100 years old. A project was drafted in the 1980s but it did not go to the Convention. The movement to increase membership and review the time-limitations for new members in the late 2000s led to the appointment of a large working group. It submitted its proposals to the 2014 Convention where some changes were made but not completed. VATRA’s Convention of 2017 appointed the Commission of Constitutional Guarantees tasked with completing the changes, drafting amendments and presiding over grievances.
Q: Was there a precedent for appointing such a body?
A: Although there have been several disagreements and disputes in VATRA’s history, in the 2017 Convention there were allegations that the assembly was conducting work in violation of VATRA’s Constitution. There is a general consensus that the 2017 Convention lacked serious preparation and organization on the part of the presidency resulting in numerous oversights. One of them was the confirmation of the Commission of Constitutional Guarantees and its objective as well as the monitoring of its activity.
Q: How many members does it have? What are the required qualifications? What are the main tasks of the Commission of Constitutional Guarantees?
A: The Commission consists of three members with legal expertise and well respected by the community. Bashkim Musabelliu – Chairman, Mehmet Kadrijaj and Kujtim Porja – Members. The objectives include monitoring the activity of the structures of the organization, addressing disputes rising among the members, branches, and the organization, as well as preparing draft amendments to update the legislation and reflect the changes in the organization. Draft proposals are to be submitted for approval in the upcoming Convention. The work of the Commission has been covered by Dielli as per Headquarters’ request.
Q. How does the Constitution safeguard the Federation?
A: The Constitution protects the Federation by assigning the duties, rights and responsibilities of its members, branches and officials. It regulates and determines the rules that guide the election of VATRA’s officials and structures. Its By-Laws uphold civility and compliance by members of the moral code in all activities of the organization.
Q: What are some of the areas that have come into question in the course of VATRA’s long history?
A. The Federation has had its ups and downs, yet it has aimed to conduct its activity in line with its purpose and program as defined in the opening articles of the Constitution: 1 – To promote among Albanians in America, and through them among the Albanians in Albania, the spirit of helping one another and of loving their nationality, through conferences and publications. 2 – To promote among them the sense of honor and love for the laws and institutions of the United States of America, and to strengthen the bond of friendship between American citizens and Albanians. 3 – To help in the learning of the English and Albanian language and to spread education and moral doctrines among Albanians in America. 4 – To help morally for the amelioration of the members of the Federation and to protect, as much as it can, Albanian immigrants and workers.
Q. Presently, what does a VATRA member stand for?
A. In the current situation, members of VATRA need to recognize and follow the By-Laws regarding membership dues and duties whether in the center or branches in order to have representation in the Convention of January 19, 2020.
Q. What is the cause of the current predicament of the Federation?
A. Arbitrary actions of a few members of VATRA and one branch in particular have set off a parallel body calling for a Convention. Ironically, this unconstitutional group claims that the move stems from the violations in the 2017 assembly concerning the Constitution. It is worth-noting that grievances have been neglected on the part of the presidency and the accumulation of discontent resulted in the current state.
Q. What is the right path to overcome the current situation?
A. When rules are followed by everyone and the same standards are applied consistently, the organization runs well and disputes are resolved with civility.