Grenadians will be going to the polls in six months, not to change its government, but to change its Constitution as handed down from Great Britain when the island gained Independence on 7 February 1974.
Addressing this morning’s post Cabinet briefing, Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod said that the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee has submitted its initial report to Cabinet, following weeks of consultations throughout the island. These members will now examine the proposal with view for having the referendum poll on 10 February 2015.
He said that 25 areas were recommended for change, but focus will only be on 12 in the first instance. “High on the list is the issue of Grenada joining the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final appellate Court,” said Nimrod, who has already expresses his strong support for the new justice system. “We believe it’s time to find our own wings to fly,” he said.
Another area of priority is the inclusion of the Grenadine islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique on the passport. These islands are governed by Grenada but the names are not spelled out on the passport. Over the years there has been continuous advocacy for, and against, inclusion of the names on the passport.
Also on the priority list is the suggestion to change the oath of allegiance to Grenada instead of to the Queen of England; to change the title of Chief of Police to Commissioner of Police; and to establish of an Electoral Commission instead of having a Supervisor of Election.
“We the people of Grenada will ultimately decide what we want with this process,” said Attorney-General Cajeton Hood, who shared the briefing with Nimrod.
According to the regulations in the Constitution, for any amendment for Grenada to adopt a new constitution, there must a voting referendum with a two-thirds majority of the voting population and Parliamentarians voting in favour.
Earlier this year, Cabinet appointed a 15 member Constitution Reform advisory Committee who tasked to review work already done with regards to Grenada adopting a new constitution, and at the same time to have consultation with the people, so that recommendations can be proposed with regards to wishes of the population.
Headed by constitutional lawyer and former Attorney-General Dr Francis Alexis, the Committee held sessions throughout villages and communities to hear the desires and wishes of the people. The 25 recommendations were based on the discussions and suggestions from these consultations.
Governor-General Dame Cécile La Grenade, in delivering the traditional throne speech for the opening of the second session of the 9th Parliament last year, said that as Grenada celebrates its 40th year of Independence from Great Britain, having a review at this time is quite appropriate.
By Linda Straker