STILL A VOICE
BARBADIANS WILL HAVE their say on whether the country becomes a republic or not after all.
Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley said yesterday the public would get to vote yes or no on the issue whenever they voted in the next
She said that work on the draft Constitution was completed two years ago, but Government had not released it "largely because we committed towards a referendum on the republic.
"We would have taken that decision [ballot] largely because we recognise that the cost of holding a separate referendum, especially in the context when since we committed to it, we would have had to deal with the cost of building a new prison; we've had to deal with the cost of oil prices virtually trebling to quadrupling on us and we felt that to have a separate referendum in circumstances where you've faced all the cost of an election would have been an extreme burden on the state.
"In the circumstances, we will in fact therefore at the timing of the next general election have a ballot on whether or not Barbados should become a republic and give Barbadians the opportunity to make that judgement individually as we promised to do," Mottley said.
She made the announcement on the Starcom Brass Tacks On Sundays where she and Branford Taitt, a former Democratic Labour Party minister, were guests on this week's programme which examined: To What Extent Are We Craftsmen Of Our Fate
As The Country Goes Into Its 41st Anniversary Of Independence?
Mottley also said that "we feel that it is the right thing to do to have a Barbadian head of state. We accept that there was a concern that the Government alone should not make that decision in this day and age and we are therefore committed to expressing our views to the public and having them pass judgement on it."
The issue was a hot topic back in 2005 and Prime Minister Owen Arthur promised there would be a referendum on whether Barbados should have a Barbadian head of state, and whether it was ready to remove the British monarch.
He also promised there would have been a referendum in his 2006 Independence Day message.
Taitt said he was "glad" to hear the people would get a say.
"Like most things that have happened with the Government it has been such a long time in coming that you have to be glad that it is coming. That they are going to have the ballot on the republic now I am glad to hear that it is coming at last," he said. (DS)