File Under: Ongoing Barbados Republic & Constitutional Debate
Hold The Presses!
With files from the April 25, 2006 Barbados Advocate…
Barbados Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced on Monday afternoon that a new Constitution is needed in Barbados, but it has been held up because the Government has given a commitment to ask Barbadians a question on this matter.
But, didn't Ms. Mottley and PM Arthur announce the same thing in January of 2005? Oh yes…
From Caribbean Net News, January 25, 2005…
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: The people of Barbados could very well become nationals of the Republic of Barbados by the end of 2005.
This was made known by Prime Minister Owen Arthur while he addressed a meeting of the Christ Church West and St Michael South branches of the ruling Barbados Labour Party (BLP).
The country's Attorney-General, Mia Mottley will be presenting a draft bill to Parliament in March designed to amend the Constitution.
Ok. Ok…. To be fair, Ms. Mottley didn't say exactly which March of which year she would be introducing the legislation. 😉
And, wasn't there a Bill laid in the House on October 10, 2000 having to do with a referendum question? Oh yes, I remember now…
From the August 28, 2005 The Nation News...
But what of the new Referendum Bill (and no mention of the Constitution Bill, which should really come before the referendum debate)?
When the original Bill was laid in the House on October 10, 2000, Government pooh-poohed concerns that the question was so phrased as to demand an emotional response from every patriotic Barbadian: "Do you agree that the Head of State of Barbados should be a citizen of Barbados?"
According to Arthur, it was a clear, succinct, accurate and brief question – all of 16 words, to be exact.
Nearly five years later, a couple of flip-flops by Arthur on whether there would or would not be a referendum, and even more confusion, Government now has a new, longer, convoluted question of twice as many words – 34.
Try reading it aloud: "Do you agree with the recommendation of the Constitution Review Commission that Barbados should become a parliamentary republic with a Head of State of Barbados being a president who is a citizen of Barbados?"
Out of breath yet?
For something that the Prime Minister had airily dismissed on January 31 as "a false issue" when he insisted there would be no referendum, but a week later on February 5 – without an explanation of why he changed his mind so suddenly – said on TV that a plebiscite was still "fundamentally valid", this referendum question has sure made the Government go to a lot of trouble.
Let's See The New Constitution BEFORE The Referendum
Doesn't it make sense that Barbadians should know exactly what they are voting for when they are asked to give their blessing through a referendum?
Somehow, I think that both the Prime Minister and his Deputy would rather have it the other way… "Just give us a 'Yes' and then we will tell you what you agreed to."
Yes… welcome to Barbados Republic and Constitutional Debate – different day, same old s – er, stuff.