Grenadians reject changes to constitution
ST GEORGE’S – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has promised a post mortem examination of Thursday’s referendum where voters rejected all seven bills that would have resulted in a reform of the 1974 Constitution.
“Definitely we will be reviewing the entire process that led us to this point and making a conclusion which will be told to the people,” he said.
Preliminary figures released by the Parliamentary Elections Office showed that while more than 70 000 people were eligible to vote on Thursday, fewer than 25 000 did so.
Mitchell said he did not regard the outcome as a defeat for this ruling New National Party (NNP) that had won all 15 seats in the last general elections.
One of the bills rejected had called for the appointment of an Opposition Leader, but according to the preliminary figures, only 6113 supported the idea as against 15 473 who voted “no”.
Voters also turned down the opportunity to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the island’s final court.
Supervisor of Election, Alex Phillip, said the Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice related matters Bill received 43 per cent support while 57 per cent of the voters were against the Bill. He said in terms of votes, 9 634 people voted in favour of the CCJ while 12 605 did not support the court that was established in 2001 and also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Treaty of Chaguarmas that governs the 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM.
CCJ President, Sir Dennis Byron, said he had “hoped to be in a position to welcome Grenada to the Appellate Jurisdiction of the CCJ but I am very respectful of the decision that has been made by the people of Grenada”.
He noted that the JURIST Project, a five-year Caribbean judicial reform initiative being executed by the CCJ, had recently participated in judicial reform activities in Grenada resulting in a reduction of the backlog of cases.
The CCJ President reiterated that the Court will continue to provide support to the nation notwithstanding this recent development and thanked Prime Minister Mitchell and his government for championing the historic referendum. (CMC)