Committee established to aid Barbados’ transition to republican system

Mia Motley

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Mia Mottley-led administration has announced the formation of a Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee (RSTAC) to help plan and manage the transition of the island from a monarchical to a republican system.

In making the announcement late Saturday, the Cabinet said that acting Cabinet Secretary Hughland Allman will be responsible for servicing the committee.

Barbados has had two previous constitutional review commissions in 1977 and 1994, headed by Sir Mencea Cox and Sir Henry Forde, respectively.

Sir Henry Forde’s commission recommended the manner in which Barbados should settle all of the arrangements for the president.

Guided by this, the new RSTAC will be required to discuss rights, responsibilities and aspirations and to specifically include the youth and the Diaspora.

In a statement, the Cabinet said that over the next few weeks, the public will be given an opportunity to send their ideas to the committee and to attend its public meetings.

According to the statement, the terms of reference for the RSTAC will review the previous work done on the subject, including the Report of the Constitution Review Commission, 1998, and the draft Constitution Bill, 2004.

It will recommend the constitutional requirements necessary to effect the change and to recommend the type of presidency, the powers and tenure of the president, and to determine the ceremonial and legal implications of the presidential status; indicate the impact the presidential status will have on the public service and produce a report which is expected to have short, medium and long term, perspectives and which identifies the policies which underpin its work.

In addition, the report will also emphasise the primacy of identity consciousness of Barbadians, identifying the salient national characteristics and encouraging their positive and constructive display and so seek to enhance national consciousness or the ‘Soul of the Nation’.

The Cabinet said that the committee will also address the matter of individual freedoms reinforce the values of religious, spiritual and racial tolerance and related values such as respect and dignity; reflect the rights, obligations, ambitions and expectations of the people of Barbados; examine the benefit and possibilities of Barbados’ becoming a multi-lingual country since some of its neighbours speak languages other than English.