Grenada opposition saddened by referendum outcome
ST GEORGE’S – A senior member of main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), says that the party is “saddened and depressed” that Grenadians who participated in Tuesday’s referendum did not support having the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), as the island’s Final Appellate Court.
“We are really saddened and depressed that today it is not our Final Court, but at the same time we have an obligation as citizens to defend our constitution and to ensure that any amendment in the constitution meets the highest standard,” said Claudette Joseph, who said persons should vote “no” if they did not understand why they were voting.
“We would want to let it be known to our Caribbean brothers and sisters, especially the Judges and administrators of the Caribbean Court of Justice, that the National Democratic Congress is and has always been in support of the CCJ becoming our Final Appellate Court,” said Joseph who during interviews before referendum day claimed that the bill to amend the constitution was flawed.
“It’s indeed depressing that we have not only failed ourselves but the entire Caribbean because this is the second attempt at constitutional reform to make the CCJ the Final Court,” Joseph told reporters in a news conference at the Party’s headquarters on Thursday.
“We hope that this is not the end of the road for the CCJ, vis-à-vis Grenada; we hope also that its not the end of the road for general constitution reform for Grenada,” said Acting Political Leader Joseph Andall. During the educational campaign he said his party was in full support, but days before the referendum called for it to be postponed.
“The lesson we learnt from this is that you cannot embark on such an enterprise by trying to do it alone…there is a need for a unified approach when embarking on something like constitutional reform,” Andall said.
On Tuesday, 28 per cent of registered voters in Grenada participated in a referendum in which they voted against adopting the CCJ as the island’s final appellate court. At present, the final court is the London based Privy Council.
In the low turn poll, 12 133 voted against, while 9 846 voted in support of the Bill that will alter the constitution and make the necessary changes.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has since said that he will not initiate another attempt at holding a referendum of this nature. (CMC)