CHOGM delegates tour centre

The result emerged after more than 50 percent of the electorate of the eastern Caribbean nation rejected a referendum that would have replaced the British monarch with a President chosen by the Parliament.

Preliminary results released by the elections commission early yesterday revealed that 56 percent of voters rejected the referendum, according to the Associated Press.

Both of the island’s political parties want to replace the queen with a President as head of state.

However, members of the Opposition had urged voters to reject the proposed constitution, arguing it did not sufficiently reduce the powers of the prime minister, who would remain as head of government.

The Opposition, according to AP, also insisted that citizens rather than Parliament should elect the president.

The vote came as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, are currently on a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago, and also will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Queen Elizabeth is the head of the Commonwealth. The event would mark the Queen’s third official visit to TT.

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, will also be one of the 51 leaders attending the CHOGM.

The proposed constitution for the country, which has a population of 105,000 people, would have replaced the charter created when the islands gained independence from Britain in 1979, AP said.

It also would have established a new court of appeal to replace Britain’s Privy Council.

The referendum fell woefully short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.


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