The new Constitution of Barbados will be shaped by a draft prepared by Prime Minister Mia Mottley over a decade ago when she was Attorney General.
This was announced by Attorney General Dale Marshall this afternoon, as he acknowledged that the draft would have to be changed and tweaked to meet the changing times.
Rounding off debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament today, Marshall said the groundwork for the new Constitution had already been laid.
Mottley, the island’s first and only female Attorney General, served in that position from 2001 until 2006 under former Prime Minister Owen Arthur.
“The question of when and how we deal with the matters of the new Constitution will be answered very shortly. I know that the public is in many quarters anxious to know how we are going to proceed.
“The new Constitution has in fact been drafted years ago. The current Prime Minister had the responsibility for producing that draft when she last sat in the chair of Attorney General, but nothing was done with it on that occasion and perhaps nothing was done because this Parliament as it was then constituted smarted at the time from challenges about republicanism and so on…” the Attorney General suggested.
“The new Constitution that the Prime Minister was responsible for drafting not long ago, obviously there are changes that will have to be made and that have been made to that…and it obviously will include some of what we have done here today. I am again encouraging all Barbadians to seize the opportunity to participate in crafting a Constitution that will perhaps carry Barbados forward for the next five decades, mindful always that even as a new Constitution it will not be perfect but it will be as perfect as we can make it.”
The Attorney General said overseeing the process was his responsibility and within the next four weeks Government should be able to update Barbadians on the progress.
He said the persons who will sit on the Review Commission had already been identified.
“So we have to deal with the matter of a new Constitution for Barbados. The Prime Minister has charged me as Senior Minister with responsibility for governance with putting those arrangements in place and I anticipate that certainly within the next four weeks or so we ought to be able to come to the country and say with precision who will constitute the Review Commission and we have already begun to consider the individuals who we think are sound enough intellectually and who have the kind of experience and gravitas that we would want. That exercise has begun,” Marshall indicated.