By Linda Straker
Less than 24 hours after the Attorney-General announced that the Grenadians will no longer be having the referendum vote on 27 October, a new date was announced by Alex Phillip, Supervisor of Elections.
In a statement issued by Phillip, he said that it was advised on Wednesday, 19 October 2016, by Her Excellency the Governor-General, that the 7 writs issued on Friday, 23 September 2016, have been revoked.
“Her Excellency has commanded me to inform the general public of Grenada that today, 19 October, 2016, 7 writs of constitutional referendums have been issued. The date appointed by the Governor-General as Constitutional Referendum is Thursday, 24 November 2016,” said the statement.
The statement explained that on this date, all registered electors would be entitled to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the approval of each of the 7 Constitutional Amendment Bills as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
As a result and in accordance with the Constitutional Referendum Act, 2016 (as amended) the Governor-General has appointed Tuesday, 1 November 2016, as the final day for registration of electors for participation in Constitutional Referendum Day.
“All persons who are entitled to be registered as electors in Grenada and who have not yet so been registered are invited to present themselves at the Parliamentary Elections Constituency Office nearest to their residence so that they can be registered as electors and exercise their franchise on Constitutional Referendum Day,” the statement advises.
Attorney-General Cajeton Hood said on Tuesday that the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee has sensed a genuine increase in national interest — and at the same time, people are asking for more time to become more familiar with what is being proposed.
“While we appreciate that we cannot have an open-ended process, we understand the magnitude and historic significance of the Bills being presented to Grenadians for their approval,” said the AG.
Hood said that one clause in the Rights and Freedoms Bill has caused growing concerns in some circles. “After extensive general discussion, including with the chairman and other members of CRAC, the Government believes that this, and any other lingering issues of clarity, must be addressed,” he said, while explaining that all the contributions of the various stakeholders on this matter have been considered, and against this background, the Cabinet has decided that it would serve the public good if approximately another month be given for the education process to be completed.
Chairman of the CRAC, Dr Francis Alexis, said that during the recent discussions it was realized that the more the Rights and Freedom Bills are explained to the people the more they are comfortable with it.
That Bill has become a heated debate, because in the view of some religious leaders, it will pave the way for the Grenada to legalise same sex-unions.
The 7 Bills that will be voted in the referendum are:
- Constitution of Grenada (Caribbean Court of Justice and Other Justice-Related Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Elections and Boundaries Commission) (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Ensuring the Appointment of Leader of the Opposition) (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Fixed Date for Elections) (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Name of State) (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Rights and Freedoms) (Amendment) Bill, 2016
- Constitution of Grenada (Term of Office of Prime Minister) (Amendment) Bill, 2016