Virtual Kollage: The functions of the Executive Council under the Crown Colony system of administration

Posted by / Monday, 18 April 2016 / No comments

The functions of the Executive Council under the Crown Colony system of administration





THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL UNDER THE CROWN COLONY SYSTEM
Introduction
The crown colony system of administration also made provision for an Executive Council as part of the administrative structure of the British colony. The members of the Executive Council were mainly heads of important governmental departments in the colonies.

Until 1942, the membership of the Executive Council was mainly Europeans. It was only until 1942 that two Africans were appointed to serve on that Council. These Africans were Nana Ofori Atta and Sir Arku Korsah. Then in 1943, Nana Tchibu Darko was added.

FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Formulation of policies
One of the functions of the the Executive Council was to advise the Governor on the formulation of policies. Constituted by heads of important departments within the colony, the input of the members of the Council is very crucial because they have a first hand information on the goings on in their individual departments and therefore have an idea about how best to fix them

Implementation of policies
Another function of the Executive Council was to implement the policies so formulated. Being the heads of Departments and being privy to the processes leading to the final policy document, they appear to be the best people to implement them once they have been approved.

Granting of amnesty 
Again, the Executive Council played a prominent role in the granting of pardon to convicted criminals. They, for example, could advise the Governor on the exercise of that power of prerogative of mercy. 

Allocation of land
Though the governor had the power to allocate land to people who needed it for commercial activities, he received advise from the Executive Council in taking a decision.

Acted as an intermediary
The Executive Council was the arena of the formulation of policies before laws are made to actualize those policies. Therefore, the Executive Council functioned to link the Governor and the Legislative Council.

LIMITATIONS ON THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
Governor not bound to take their advice
One of the limitations of the Executive Council was that the Governor was not under any obligation to take its advice. To take or not to take advice from the Executive Council was at the discretion of the Governor.

Governor appointed most members of the Council
The Governor a certain controlling influence over the members of the Executive Council. This was so because he was the head of the Council and most of the appointments to the Council were made by him. Therefore, since the members owe their continued presence on the Council to the Governor, they supported him and the decisions he endorsed.

Members were all Europeans
Another criticism of the Executive council was that it was made up only of European officials. This was the case up until 1942. Before this time, Africans were excluded from the membership of the Executive Council. 

Accountability to the Legislative Council
Unlike the practice of parliamentary system in Britain at the time, where the cabinet was and still is responsible to the Parliament, in the Gold Coast, the members of the Executive Council were responsible to the Governor, instead of being responsible to the Legislature.This was clearly against what pertained in Britain at the time.

Oversight by Secretary of State for the colonies
The secretary of State for the colonies also had some control over the Executive Council. In order to ensure that the policies that were pursued in the colonies were in tandem with metropolitan London, the minutes of all the Executive Council meetings were forwarded to the Secretary of State for the Colonies for perusal.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS
1. a. Highlight six functions of the Executive Council under the Crown Colony system of administration.

2. a. List four functions of the Executive Council under the Crown Colony system of administration.
    b. In which five ways were the powers of the Executive Council limited?

3. Examine six reasons why the Executive Council during the colonial days was described as toothless.

4. Highlight six limitations of the Executive Council under the Crown Colony System of administration.  



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