Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has answered the much-asked question of what type of republic will Barbados become by yearend. In her remarks on the National Day of Significance (July 26), she disclosed that the decision has been taken to be a parliamentary republic. Stating that she has some promises to make to Barbados and Barbadians, she said that she fully intends to deliver on her first promise, “that on November 30 this year our great nation which we love shall become a parliamentary republic.”
This is the same type of republic as our neighbours in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. “Secondly that 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 an 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 explained.
In such instance, the president is a Head of State with some civic duties and is seen as a figurehead. But her point of focus was the fact that Bajans will have a say in who is their Head of State. “…the notion that you can have as your Head of State someone that you do not have any opportunity to participate in the selection or election of their office is as anachronistic and offensive to the modern world in which we live as the notion that women should not have the right to vote which was exactly what it was in 1937. We only got that right is 1944.”
Thirdly, Barbados’ leader promised, “that we will make amendments to facilitate that transition to a new president to be sworn in on that day – November 30, 2021. “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 move to a republic was penned by PM Mottley and read by the Governor General Dame Sandra Mason in the most recent Throne Speech on September 15, and Mottley asserted again last evening that if all goes to plan over the next four months, the 2020 Throne Speech would be the last. “My government declared to the world last year on September 15, in what will be anachronistically the last Throne Speech ever presented to a parliament of this nation, that we were ready to close the circle of independence even as we fight on the journey to close the circle of enfranchisement.”