Grenada referendum: Voters reject changes to constitution

Changes rejected in referendum include CCJ

Grenadians Thursday voted overwhelmingly to reject 7 pieces of legislation that would have reformed the constitution the island-nation received when it attained political independence 42 years ago.

“The people have spoken in a referendum, and I have accepted it, and we have to learn from the process, because it has never been tried before and I think this is what we have to understand,” Prime Minister Keith Mitchell said.

The referendum had originally been scheduled for October 27, but was postponed for a month to allow for more public education and stakeholder consultation.

But by a vast majority, the voters turned their backs on plans to replace the London-based Privy Council with the Trinidad & Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as the country’s final court, as well as rejecting term limits for the prime minister and the appointment of a leader of the opposition in Parliament.

In addition, they also rejected moves to change the name of the tri-island State and plans to establish an independent electoral commission.

Mitchell, speaking on television said he was disappointed at the low voter turnout. He said he was at a loss as to why the bill to establish an Elections and Boundaries Commission was rejected when the present system allows for the government to control the electoral process.

“Right now the present system gives the government all the powers – by voting against it – they have continued a process where the government of the day can have all the interest it wishes to have in the electoral process.

With 98.9 percent of the preliminary figures released by the elections office, the biggest defeat came in the “promotion of gay marriage” bill that Grenadians snubbed by an almost 3 to 1 margin.
They rejected the Rights and Freedom Bills by a margin of 5,004 in favor as against 16,112 voting “no”. Many Grenadians, including religious bodies said the bill would have encouraged same-sex marriages in Grenada.

Grenadians also voted against the CCJ by a margin of 9,492 in favor as against 12,434 against. -(CMC)