Religious leader believes referendum was a golden opportunity for national change

Reverend Dr R Osbert James

by Linda Straker

  • Missed opportunity to entrench important rights into the constitution in the November 2016 referendum.
  • Responsible thing would be for all who are registered to vote, to vote.
  • 44th anniversary of independence to be celebrated at the National Cricket Stadium.

Rev Osbert James, head of the Presbyterian community in Grenada believes that Grenada missed a golden opportunity to entrench some important rights into the constitution when each of the 7 bills that were voted on in the November 2016 referendum, failed to acquire the number of votes required to make changes to the constitution.

“It is our responsibility to build our nation on the foundation insisted upon by our constitution….a foundation which acknowledges the supremacy of God and the rights of fellow citizens. We will be building a nation on a foundation of sand if we pay only lip service to these values. As a nation, we missed a golden opportunity to entrench some important rights, especially in the area of gender equity when we went to referendum,” he said while delivering the homily at a church service in observance of the island’s 44th Independence celebrations.

James, a former chairman of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, told the audience which included government ministers, diplomats and former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, that as a responsible citizen, each person must be able to decipher which voice is the authentic voice of reason among the many cacophonies of confusing voices.

Focusing on the Independence celebration theme of ‘One People, One Country, Our Responsibility,’ James said that responsibility must begin with each of citizen acknowledging that change begins with that persons. “We can only change ourselves and when we have changed, hope to influence change in others,” he said.

Sharing advice on the upcoming 13 March General Election, he said the responsible thing would be for all who are registered to vote, to vote. “But we must vote responsibly. When we vote we must vote for those individuals we believe genuinely have the best interest of the country at heart. If we were to do this, even the independent candidate would stand a chance in the elections. It would not be a bad thing if some time in our country’s history we elected as parliamentarians the best from among those who have presented themselves to the people,” he said.

“If that were to happen, it might result in the independent and party-based candidate having to come together to form a government and choosing from among them the person they all consider best to be the prime servant of the country,” he said. He called to commence the teaching of responsible citizenship in homes, strengthened by the church, mosque, temple and the schools.

Grenada will be celebrating its 44th anniversary of independence on 7 February with a military parade, rally and concert featuring cultural artistes at the National Cricket Stadium.

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