Come November 30, Barbados will complete its transition to a Parliamentary Republic with the swearing-in of a non-executive president and a new Constitution to be settled on immediately after.
Those were among several promises made Monday evening by Prime Minister Mia Mottley while speaking at a ceremony to commemorate the Day of National Significance.
She indicated Government was moving full steam ahead with the move to becoming a republic, as initially disclosed by Governor General Dame Sandra Mason when she delivered her Throne Speech last September.
“I therefore come this afternoon to promise a few things…that on November 30 of this year, our great nation which we love shall become a Parliamentary Republic. Secondly, that the Cabinet has accepted the recommendations of the Fourth Commission with minor modification, that our Parliamentary Republic shall have a non-executive president that shall be elected by the electoral college of both Houses of Parliament and that that president shall be entitled to serve initially for a period of four years and thereafter can be reappointed for another term,” Mottley said.
“Thirdly, that we will make amendments to facilitate that transition to a new president to be sworn in on that day of November 30 of this year; and fourthly, that in so doing, that we start from December 1, the journey of the settlement of the new Constitution of Barbados which will be the subject of extensive consultation and communication with the people of this nation.”
The Prime Minister further explained that over the course of the next four months, extensive discussions will be held regarding the move to Republican status and the new Constitution.
She said while a committee would be established to lead those talks, ordinary Barbadians would also be allowed to have an input.
“That conversation will be led by the Republic Transition Advisory Committee along with other members of civil society and the Government, because there must be a charter of Barbados that is established and brought to our Parliament before November 30, such that we enter the morning of November 30 committed to the charter of Barbados that reflects the essence of who we are and what we stand for,” Mottley said to rapturous applause.
The Prime Minister said while there were doubters who questioned the need to become a Republic at this time, it was a necessary transition.
“And for those who are asking, ‘what is all this?’, a nation that cannot define who it is, or what we have done, or what we stand for and who we are as a people will never be able to secure its way on the journey; it will never be able to do so and, therefore, across all boundaries and sectors and classes and ages and races in this society we must in the next few months settle on those one or two pages that settle for us and the world what matters to us and what we are prepared to fight for as a people.
“And that is the bridge for the constitutional debate then that allows us to move from a constitution that celebrates the role of Government to a new constitution that speaks to the role of governance and that sets out with clarity the roles, rights and responsibilities of each and every Bajan. The charter however, represents the pledge to each other, the collective pledge of what we stand for and what we will fight for,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister revealed that the charter would be non justiciable.