by Linda Straker
The Constitutional Advisory Committee is to embark on a public education campaign aimed at helping citizens understand the matter of Constitutional Reform, and what they will be asked to vote on at the time of the referendum.
This was disclosed by Governor-General Dame Cécile La Grenade, when she delivered the Throne Speech during the ceremonial opening of the 4th session of the 9th Parliament on Wednesday.
She said that having endorsed the additional recommendations of the independent Constitutional Advisory Committee, Government recently received draft Constitution Reform Bills.
“The draft Bills (a total of 7) include: Name of State; Term of Office of Prime Minister; Fixed Date of Elections and the Appointment of a Leader of the Opposition; Election and Tenure of Governor-General; Rights and Freedoms and Establishment of an Elections and Boundaries Commission,” she said, while explaining that very soon, these Bills will be tabled in Parliament.
“It is anticipated that the citizens of our Nation will be called upon to vote on these constitutional reforms in the first half of 2016. Consequently, the public education campaign will soon resume, with the aim of helping citizens understand the matters on which they will be asked to vote at the time of the referendum,” she told members of both Houses and the packed Trade Centre.
“I urge all citizens to fully embrace this opportunity,” she said. Grenada’s Constitution which was handed to citizens by the British after the country became an independent colony in 1974, has never had an amendment.
Legal Affairs Minister Elvin Nimrod indicated recently that the hope is to have the Referendum by April 2016. Government has had various discussions with donor agencies, seeking their assistance in referendum process. It is understood that one of the agencies will be providing funds to assist with the education campaign.
The Constitution Advisory Committee is chaired by former Attorney-General Dr Francis Alexis, and comprises of 17 other members who represent interest groups, such as the Bar Associations of Grenada and the OECS, the Trade Union Movement, Religious Groups, the Media, and Civil Society Organizations.