Democratic Labour Party (DLP) presidential candidate Guy Hewitt Wednesday challenged Prime Minister Mia Mottley to allow Barbadians to have their say on whether the country should become a republic.
Hewitt, who last week questioned the timing of the move, today argued that the Prime Minister was duty-bound to keep a previously stated commitment that Barbadians would “pass judgement” on such a decision.
“As a citizen of Barbados, I am further asking the Prime Minister to explain to the people of Barbados the rush of her government, with seemingly indecent haste, to create a Parliamentary Republic,” he said.
Almost a year after her Government’s intention to transition the island into a republic was outlined in the September 2020 Throne Speech, Mottley announced Monday that the change would be made on the day the island celebrates its 55th anniversary of Independence on November 30.
“The Cabinet has accepted the recommendations of the Forde 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,” she had said, adding that once the process is complete, a new constitution would be developed on the basis of widespread consultations.
However, Hewitt maintained that the process of becoming a republic should be in line with the highest standard of democracy and Mottley should therefore remain “true to her word and guarantee to us the people of Barbados the right to pass judgement on whether we become a republic or not”.
On Tuesday, Hewitt’s political challenger, DLP president 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. (SD/PR)