Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, on Monday tabled a single-item referendum asking citizens of the Caribbean nation to decide if they want Queen Elizabeth II to be removed as Head of State and replaced with a non-executive, home-grown president.
According to CMC, Gonsalves notified the country’s Parliament that he will only push for the referendum if the opposition gives the green light.
“I will tell you this. I am prepared, if the opposition agrees today, before the end of the year or early next year to put one question in a referendum: to have a home-grown president in the manner in which I’ve just described, a non-executive president, and as was laid out in the proposed constitution, and let us go with that one single issue to the people to complete the national democratic task,” said Gonsalves.
A majority of Vincentians voted “no” in a 2009 referendum that proposed a revision of the Caribbean nation’s constitution. “I agree that we are now 12 years away from the referendum,” Gonsalves said.
The Prime Minister also added that a committee will be established to oversee a national honors program if the referendum receives bipartisan support. Gonsalves also proposed the simultaneous establishment of a body “to carry out a process of decolonisation in names.”
“We change the name of Victoria Park, we change the name of Higginson Street and other places; Murrays Road, because it is a colonial administrator. And we do that, especially at this time of fresh hope …”
Gonsalves also hinted that the Caribbean nation will welcome the recommendation to confer the national hero status to George Agusutus McIntosh, Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, Robert Milton Cato, and JP Eustace.
In November last year, Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as its Head of State to attain a Republican status. The Caribbean nation currently has a home-grown president.
And during the visit of Prince William and his wife to Jamaica in March, Prime Minister Andrew Holness informed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of the Caribbean nation’s intention to end its colonial ties to the British monarchy.
Holness said Jamaica aims to achieve “its true ambitions as an independent, developed, and prosperous country.”
In April, Belize also signaled its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth II as the Caribbean nation’s Head of State and officially become a republic, Face2Face Africa reported.