Barbados outlines process towards republic status

Queen Elizabeth and Mia Mottley

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley outlined the process to be followed over the coming months as Barbados moves to a republic status, during an address to the nation.

“There is no change to the flag; no change to the name of Independence Day; there is no change to the name of Barbados.  Barbados is Barbados.  We’re not the Commonwealth of Barbados; we’re not the Republic of Barbados; Barbados is Barbados. We are also not changing our pledge.”

Mottley noted that in the interim, the Government’s intention is to put a Bajan as the country’s head of state, and Dame Sandra Mason was the person nominated.

Dame Sandra’s nomination would now be subject to the vote of Members of Parliament in the House of Assembly and the Senate.

The Prime Minister added that Government is also seeking to determine through a Charter.

“We feel that if we are going to have a new Constitution eventually that is going to reflect who we are in the third decade of the 21st century that should be first and foremost guided by the kind of person that we want to be and the kind of people. Not legal language; not justiciable language, but a Charter, a set of pledges and promises as Bajans to each other, no more than two or three pages…”

Mottley added that she has asked the Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee to start consultations with people about the kind of promises and pledges.

“And it is the intention that subject to the people and Parliament agreeing to it that on Independence Day…will be the opportunity for the President of the country to be able to recite that Charter, as the embodiment of the aspirations of Barbadian people.”

The third aspect of the process relates to discussions on a new Constitution for Barbados, by early next year.

Prime Minister Mottley explained that Government intended to break down the Constitution “chapter by chapter”.

“We then move on through chapter by chapter by chapter, so that the process actually takes 12 to 15 months for us to have the kind of detailed conversations, supported by a secretariat that is multi-faceted,” she said.