Grenadians vote in historic referendum
The polls opened here early Thursday as the people of vote in a referendum that will decide whether or not the 1974 Constitution which the island received on attaining political independence from Britain should be changed.
The bills to be voted upon include one that changes the name of the State from ‘Grenada’ to ‘Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and another would institute term limits for the Prime Minister; ensure that there is always an Opposition Leader; enable Parliament to provide fixed dates for general elections; institute an Elections and Boundaries Commission; introduce the modern styling ‘Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’; and require that allegiance be sworn, no longer to the Queen, but to Grenada.
There is also a bill that will allow Grenadians to decide whether or not to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the island’s final court.
All seven bills need to be passed by a two-thirds majority of those voting in the referendum to become law.
In a radio and television broadcast on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell made an impassioned plea to Grenadians to vote, stating that referenda like these do not happen regularly.
“Whichever direction the vote goes, I am assured of one thing: Grenada will win on Thursday. I look forward to us waking up on Friday as a greater nation,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said it had every confidence that Grenadians will “do what is right” for the island when they vote.
The NDC said that the address by Mitchell in which he urged citizens to come out and vote “has once again demonstrated the contempt and disregard which his Government has for the people of Grenada”.
The outcome of this referendum will be known late Thursday or early Friday.