The process for Antigua and Barbuda to become the Caribbean’s youngest republic cannot happen overnight.
This comment was made by Minister of Social Transformation, Human Resource Development and the Blue Economy, Dean Jonas at today’s post-cabinet media briefing.
Jonas and Chief of Staff at the Prime Minister’s Office Ambassador Lionel Hurst noted that a referendum must be held for Antiguans and Barbudians to vote on the way forward.
“That is something [that] will probably take a while. When we have to do that, there has to be an educational campaign, there has to be a process of looking at the constitution of Antigua and Barbuda, coming up with the appropriate wording. So it will take a while before Antigua and Barbuda reaches the state before we can ever contemplate that,” Jonas said.
With the General Election in Antigua and Barbuda due by March 2023, Jonas was questioned on whether the government would consider having the referendum and general election on the same day to cut costs.
The minister said his personal preference would be to have them completely separate since there is the risk of persons politicising the issue of republicanism.
The idea of Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and The Bahamas becoming republics heightened after Barbados cut its final colonial tie with the United Kingdom last year.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son, Prince Edward, that the British Royal family’s head will remain as Antigua and Barbuda’s head of state for some time.
But he told the royal couple, who were in Antigua and Barbuda to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee, that there are people who would like the country to become a republic.
During the visit of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton to Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, local politicians expressed similar views as the Antiguan Prime Minister.
Prince William voiced support for countries wishing to ditch the UK royals as he noted “relationships evolve” and “friendship endures.” -LOOP NEWS