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Ralph Gonsalves

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in a July 25, 2022 photo.

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, on Monday, proposed a single-item referendum asking Vincentians to decide whether to replace the British monarch with a non-executive, home-grown president as head of state.

This was one of the proposed changes to the 1979 constitution that Vincentians rejected in a vote in 2009.

Gonsalves, responding in Parliament to a question from opposition lawmaker Major St. Clair Leacock, said that he would only pursue the referendum if there is bipartisan support.

Leacock, who is a vice-president of the opposition New Democratic Party, noted that Gonsalves recently received the highest national award from the Cuban Government.

He said this raises the question of national awards or rewards for Vincentians for meritorious service.

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“What is stopping us?” Leacock said. 

Gonsalves, in responding to the question, pointed out that in 2009 Vincentians voted in a referendum to keep the Queen of the United Kingdom as Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“… and her honours are our national honours, according to what the NDP urged people to vote ‘no’,” the prime minister said.

Vincentians overwhelmingly rejected the proposed revised constitution with 29,019 — “no” votes — 55.64 percent — and 22,493 “yes” votes — 43.13 percent respectively.

“I agree that we are now 12 years away from the referendum,” said Gonsalves, who had previously said that he would leave the question of constitutional reform to future leaders.

“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 homegrown 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,” Gonsalves said.

He also suggested that if there is bipartisan support for the proposal, that a committee be also set up to establish national honours.

Gonsalves further called for a 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 — cause is a colonial administrator. And we do that, especially at this time of fresh hope, of respair, of renewal.”

He also suggested that at the same time the country would go forward with the recommendation to name as national heroes, George Agusutus McIntosh, Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, Robert Milton Cato, and JP Eustace.

He suggested that there be “all party unity” on this, though the law does not require it.

The prime minister said that the National Heroes Committee would have to be reconstituted, as former culture minister Horne, one of its members is dead and two other members have “resigned or are not in the committee no more”.

He said the committee would also consider “whether or not one or two women who are deserving to fit the criteria of national hero, and get on with the process to support constitutional decolonisation to support the entire process of mental decolonisation and these steps along the way.

“So, I propose that matter. The Leader of the Opposition, are you ready for us to go to a referendum on removing the Queen? And I will tell the people of SVG, if you start the process and say ‘yes’ and anytime you dance and start say ‘no’, I pull the plug on the process.”

However, Leacock, in a supplementary question, noted that there are other Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, that are not republics but have national awards. 

“Why is republicanism a prerequisite to have a system of award?” the opposition lawmaker said. 

Gonsalves said that Vincentians validated politically the queen as head of state of the country. 

“Before, it was a negotiated fiction, you now make it a political reality. The NDP, by your leadership; you can’t duck that,” he said. 

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22 replies on “PM proposes vote on removing Queen as head of state ”

  1. Weed farmer says:

    Gonsalves want to follow suit Barbados, but Barbados is not in the same situation as SVG. We can not aford to trust Gonsalves. Look what he is doing, kissing up to every kind of latin American dictators. Barbados is not a third world country like we are. We are way behind our neighbours. We lack the kind of development Barbados, Trinidad or St.Lucia has. Most Vincentians live in abject poverty. We are not in a position to make this move at this time. Freedom of expression is still not allowed. We will be shooting our self in the foot. It is nice to aspire to these things but the conditions are not right at this time. God bless you all.

  2. Cutbut Fartin says:

    The opposition must be fools to along with anything Gonsalves propose. He already thief the elections what do you expect next?

  3. I can’t stand the idea of the royal family and the queen being the head of state. That whole royal family B.S needs to be abolished. But heaven help us if SVG is made a republic under this corrupt regime. That old windbag needs to put on his pampers and go shit on himself.

  4. Like he plan on stealing these YES..why he want to implement another referendum for the same thing that vincentian already voted NO for.. why he think people minds will change when nothing in vincy na change. Vincy still hard like (ah cant say). Opposition leader you ha be fool fool to make this man trick you into doing this… Nobody na come fo me anah, nobody. Its freedom of speech. It so darm hard for poor people to get visa. Canada want visa, America visa..now you want we get visa to go england too..oh god man.. fix the country first make us feel comfortable that we dont want to leave, let people be excited to visa here, just like how we excited to visit there country and then you can do whatever

  5. Trish you are so right.
    Imagine SVG being a republic under this tribal government.
    It is already two classes of people the (1) Have’s and (2) the Have not’s. Vincentians will be wise to not allow that to happen under this present regime as much as I agree that it is time to remove the queen as the head of state.

  6. Calliaquaman says:

    Canada, Australia and India colonial countries of England have our Queen as Head Of State with own Distinguish awards for Services. We should ask them for help out extricate our minds and implements development growth for our nation.
    India 75 yr. of Independence and it one of the powerhouses in Education, Technology, Medicines, Agricultures, and Military Hardware, colonialism did not suppress the Brains. And SVG 42 yrs., what a contrast all we are hearing Reparations the back revolution mantra blaming others for our failure, and selling out our state brains to foreigner.

    Leave my Queen alone. Bless.

    My To Cents

  7. It is not just about removing the Queen as head of state, there is a bigger picture to consider. One thing which I was proud of this week is that SVG has a Chess team at the championship. In politics, it seems that some leaders are devoid of the ability to understand complex issues and think more than one or two moves ahead. The best thing for SVG going forward is to leverage the power of Britain and the commonwealth and secure our future by having friends in important places around the world. This is not a time to be on your own and become easy pickings for rogue nations.

  8. Nathan J Green says:

    A worthless dirty dog is better as head of state than what Gonsalves has in mind. You have seen what he has done and overstayed what many people think is his welcome. Next we will have a scallywag dictator as head of State. I would sooner stick with the Queen she is a wonderful devoted woman.

    All this alliance with Venezuela and Cuba and now nasty Nicaragua. All of whom are supporters of Putin.

    I hope the NDP give a resounding no to the KING KONG GONSALVES PROPOSAL.

  9. Take warning says:

    Wa the Queen do ar yo? ar yo bin want she head move off the dollar some years ago, remember? this country is not yours, time fo go to a nursing home in yo pamper, . wen last we hear the word charisma? Lol ,

  10. Remove d queen an is now Vincy unstable no protest no freedom of speech u name it human rites out d door check out their party constitution u wonder if it’s an occultic org ppl attaching themselves to that man cannot b trusted he is like a con artist we don’t have a problem removing d queen but when he gon he is too bitter

  11. Sandra Bynoe says:

    If you want to see the Gonsalves family as a dynasty ruling SVG forever go along with this. The NDP if they support this will never ever gain power again, they will be finished the dynasty will see to that.

  12. Sandra Bynoe says:

    Radio Habana in Cuba made gleeful recognition that Gonsalves wants to dump the Queen. So much so that the Cuban government may be behind the whole scheme and proposal.

    https://www.radiohc.cu/en/noticias/internacionales/294714-prime-minister-of-st-vincent-and-the-grenadines-proposes-to-disassociate-from-british-queen

    Remember folks fatty is our red under the bed, he has been helping Cuba for years. He even got a medal from Cuba this year acknowledging his help.

  13. Nathan J Green says:

    If the NDP support this I will then turn all my effort against them ever being elected again.

  14. If PM gets the vote through to remove Queen (or future successors) as head of state, then gone is the ability to appeal to the privy council and a change in constitution, hardly in the interest of a state or population wishing to ensure it’s appointed leaders can be held to account, but naturally in the interest of the Gonsalves family to consolidate power and slowly demolish systems that hold leadership to account by the electorate.

  15. woah donkey woh says:

    who can’t see through Gonsalves plan need their head examined. The Marxist autocrat is now looking to cement his place as dictator. […] but wait you go find out.

  16. It’s time to Remove the Queen of England and her entitled family. The queen of England doesn’t care about black people in SVG. The queen of England doesn’t even care about black citizens in England much less a far away land as SVG. We should appoint a man or a woman with SVG roots to be head of state. SVG is not independent with a white queen from England and the former colonial British government still calling the shots in our Court and affairs.

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