Press briefing with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley featuring Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic – September 18, 2021. (PMO)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced that legislation relating to the election of a Barbadian Head of State will be taken to Parliament next week, and debate will follow shortly. 

Ms. Mottley made the announcement earlier today as she addressed the nation.  “There’s been much discussion as we move along towards the election of a Barbadian Head of State … going forward.  I’m happy to report to the country that we will in fact be laying the legislation for that on Monday and giving notice to the House of Assembly of it on Monday.

“And on Tuesday, the Attorney General will move the First Reading … but the actual debate will not take place to the following week, when it is then the Second and Third Reading and full debate,” she disclosed.

The Prime Minister explained that the legislation was about what was necessary to ensure they revoke the Independence Order in Council that was done by Her Majesty the Queen, and make sure the Barbadian Constitution was anchored by the Parliament of Barbados, and not by the actions of Her Majesty in 1966.

“It does not in any way change any major thing other than it provides as well for the election of a Barbadian Head of State, and it sets out the procedure as to how it will be done, and how she or he will be nominated…. And, going forward, the process of Parliament with respect to how that process is completed.

“It is very straightforward. It’s a simple two thirds majority of each House, whether it is the House of Assembly or the Senate.  Each of them must vote in their own deliberate right and it sets out, for example, how the nomination is to take place; what happens when it takes place, and how the election is to take place. Other than that, the rejection of the Order in Council of Her Majesty requires that we simply save the Constitution, and that is done very clearly at Clause Five.

“But it also saves all of the powers and privileges and offices and commissions that we have now in the country.  And the last thing that it does is that it changes the oath of office, so that instead of having an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, it will be an oath of allegiance to the State of Barbados,” she explained.

Ms. Mottley again gave the assurance that there would be no major change to the Constitution without consultation. She reiterated that the consultations would start next January, and would be done chapter by chapter of the Constitution.

“We also expect that the Cheltenham Commission on Parliamentary Reform will start working before the end of the year.  But it too will feed into that consultation on the new chapters in the Constitution that we will bring. And that is why we believe that the level of consultation will take about 12 months with respect to the … new Constitution,” she said.

The Prime Minister also disclosed that, as promised, the 1925 Prevention of Corruption Legislation would be replaced with a new Anti-Corruption Bill 2021.  

She added that the Remediation Agreements Deferred Prosecutions Bill of 2021 would be laid, and it would empower the Director of Public Prosecutions to meet with and construct agreements with respect to criminal liability, or opportunities for prosecution with respect to persons guilty of acts.

“The Attorney General has also indicated to us that he will shortly be bringing to Cabinet and Parliament the revised Integrity in Public Life Bill, such that we may reintroduce it into this new session of Parliament, and I hope as early as October, to ensure that the concerns expressed by the Senate will be addressed by this new Bill,” Ms. Mottley further disclosed.

With respect to cost of living issues, the Prime Minister said the matter was still before the Subcommittee of the Social Partnership, but she hoped the matter would be addressed early in October.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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