Not so fast!
That is the strong message which the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) delivered Tuesday to the Mia Mottley administration following its announcement Monday that this country will become a parliamentary republic on November 30.
In a press statement issued today, President of the DLP Verla De Peiza urged the Government to refrain from “rushing” into republicanism at this time and instead allow democracy to work by first having a referendum on the matter.
On Monday, Prime Minister Mottley told a public event marking the National Day of Significance here that the Republican form of Government would see the election of a non-executive President whose initial term in office would be four years with the provision for an extension for another four years.
However, De Peiza described as disrespectful and ridiculous, the Government’s decision to settle on the republican status and name a date for the change over without engaging the views of the population.
“Ms Mottley you have to revisit the relationship between the people and the Government on this matter. There can be no greater disengagement from the people than to rule by edict. It runs counter to all the principles of democracy. This is too weighty a change not to be put specifically to the country by way of referendum,” the DLP leader said.
While reiterating the need for the change to a republic be ventilated in the public domain, the president of the DLP warned the Government that it is going down “a rocky road”
“Our people need to be allowed to determine their own future,” she said.
De Peiza also expressed scepticism about the change from having a Governor-General as Head of State to the installation of a President.
“This runs deeper than a swap from Governor General to President, but reaches into our civil service, police force, judiciary and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Any major constitutional changes should insist that our people are engaged at every level; and this Government promised to come to the people in June and September. It never did,” the political leader declared.
She also noted that her party supported a Republican form of Government, but not in the absence of public consultation.