News & Current Affairs, CARICOM Affairs - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 13:18
Referendum day on monarchy, constitutional reform in St. Vincent & the GrenadinesBy Antillean, News Desk
The people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines will today decide whether to replace the island’s constitution, which has been in place since gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1979.
If approved, the new constitution will abolish the island’s monarchy, removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and replacing her with a non-executive president nominated by both political parties. The charter will also establish a Court of Appeals to replace the British Privy Council, which remains the highest appeals court in the island.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his ruling United Labour Party has campaigned heavily in favour of constitutional reform along republican lines, going so far as to promise a public holiday if the referendum succeeds.
Speaking to the Trinidad Express, Gonsalves said: “I find it a bit of a Nancy story that the Queen of England can really be the Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”. The opposition New Democratic Labour Party (NDP), though also in favour of a republican system, is opposing the selection of a president by parliament and insists that the office should be filled by a nationally elected candidate.
The opposition further argues that the new constitution will do nothing to reduce the power of the Prime Minister or to strengthen the country’s democracy, claiming that the proposed charter does not go far enough to rework the mandate of the Integrity Commission, Human Rights Commission, the office of the Ombudsman and the Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Fringe groups in the island have gone further to oppose the new constitution, arguing that it will bring “communism” to St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
The referendum requires a two-thirds majority vote for passage and will be observed by missions from CARICOM and the Organisation of American States. There are 97,000 registered voters, with an undetermined number of people who have died or moved away on the electors list.
Queen Elizabeth II is coincidentally on a rare trip to the region to open the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad & Tobago on November 27, in her capacity as head of the Commonwealth.
Update: The referendum was defeated by a significant margin in results announced at 2230.
Leave a Reply
- my husband mike was director of engineering in the late 80's we lived down by sh...
- We stayed at Sams Lords in Sams room, his masters chamber as it was called next ...
- We were heartbroken to finally learn @ Sam Lords fate! It was one of the most ...
- We also stayed at Sam Lords castle. it was our honeymoon and it was Oct of 1985....
- Sam Lord's Castle was not just a place, but an amazing experience that I will ch...
- I'm a foreign woman that married a bajan guy 5 years ago with a child of 4 years...
- My friend and I flew to Barbados all the way from California for a much needed v...
- You call yourself a feminist and gender specialist??? You've got to be kidding m...
CARICOM Affairs - Mar 13, 2010 14:30 - 0 Comments
More In CARICOM Affairs
- World Bank offers CARICOM debt assistance
- Harpooning Caribbean tourism: Swallowing a dead rat
- Region in drought: the thirsty Caribbean
- Disasters need more than prayers
- To OAS or not to OAS: That is the question
News & Current Affairs, CARICOM Affairs - Mar 6, 2010 8:46 - 2 Comments
More In News & Current Affairs
- Professor Rex Nettleford is dead
- Caribbean islands prepare to take in Haitian refugees
- Powerful 7.3 earthquake and aftershocks hit Haiti, tsunami watch issued
- Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit assumes chairmanship of CARICOM
- Lisa Gale becomes first female Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce
OP-Ed & Features, Gender & Sexuality - Feb 6, 2010 14:07 - 0 Comments
More In Gender & Sexuality
- Barbados Family Minister says men deserve more legal rights to their children
- On World AIDS Day 2009, sexual minorities are still criminals in the Caribbean
- The same sex marriage debate: separating religious rites from civil rights
- Words hurt: is it time for hate speech legislation in Barbados?
- A Young Spin on an Old Tale: Youth and HIV/AIDS