Prime Minister Mia Mottley has blamed the Democratic Labour Party’s messy internal elections earlier this year for planting seeds of doubt on the country’s final break from the British Monarchy.
“It is not passing strange, or perhaps it is passing strange that this became an issue, not as a national concept so much, but in the midst of the confusion with those who wanted to find something to talk about, in the midst of the Democratic Labour Party leadership race,” declared Mottley.
“And I don’t say so lightly, because I recognise the extent to which a lot of the commentators and a lot of the arguments were related to persons who had additional exposure within the political field. I put it as gingerly and as gently as that,” the PM added.
Her comments appeared to be a bold swipe at the Reverend Guy Hewitt, who contested the presidency of the DLP’s post at the annual conference in late August.
Hewitt, before losing to incumbent DLP president Verla DePeiza, continuously took jabs at the “rushed” decision and cautioned the Government against making the move to republicanism without a clear mandate from the people.
However, at a Global Town Hall Meeting ahead of the November 29th transition, Mottley attempted to lay the matter to rest, declaring that every Government since 1998, promised a transition to republicanism in their manifesto. As result, she said there was “nothing really to ask” Barbadians about.
“A Barbadian should be a Barbadian. A Barbadian head of state is one who should be a person who was either born here or assumed citizenship here and who intrinsically understands the nation,” Mottley declared.
“And, the symbolism of being able to aspire to become Head of State is so powerful that we cannot deny it, and I wouldn’t know how the U.S head of state could be a man from Brazil. I don’t know how the President of France would be a person coming from Nigeria and therefore if we accept that, then we begin to understand that the notion that our President-elect who will be sworn in on Monday night, who was born in the parish of St Philip is the person who will bring immense pride to every Barbadian boy and girl,” the Prime Minister added.
She, however , promised once again that the consultation would take place with the new constitution, which will represent the fundamental law of the country.
“We have already given the assurance that from the very beginning that we will do that, not just as a constitutional document with 150 pages or 200 pages where you have two months to read it and decide, but chapter by chapter by chapter so that you begin to have, every month, a different focus on the kinds of activities, whether it’s the fundamental rights and freedoms, whether it’s the structure of cabinet and the executive authority, whether it is the public service, whether it is Parliament, whether it is the boundaries commission, whether it is the new integrity commission, which we hope to put in the constitution,” promised Mottley.
“These are the things that will fundamentally be the subject of deep engagement with the Barbadian public and diaspora,” she added.