New referendum writs issued

New writs have been issued by Governor-General, Dame Cecile La Grenade for the postponed Constitutional Referendum for Grenada, according to Supervisor of Elections, Alex Phillip.

It was announced last week that the referendum first set for October 27 is being pushed back to Thursday, November 24th.

The Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC), headed by Dr. Francis Alexis called an emergency press conference to inform reporters that Cabinet requested a one-month postponement in order to give the public more time to be educated on the seven bills to be voted upon in the referendum.

The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government is facing mounting pressure especially on the Rights and Freedom bill, which several religious and other groups regard as opening the door to same sex marriages in the country.

The Supervisor of Elections told reporters that he would have to re-run the process that had taken place to facilitate the earlier October 27 Referendum Day.

“… I was advised by the Governor General that the seven writs issued on the 23rd of September were revoked. Her Excellency has ordered, commanded me to inform the general public of Grenada that seven writs of constitutional referendum has been issued…the dates appointed by the Governor General as constitutional referendum day is now Thursday, the 24th of November 2016,” he said.

Phillip disclosed that the publication of the bills which was done at what he said was “a slight cost” to the office will have to be redone due to the one month extension.

“Because we have new writs issued all that we would have done before will have to more or less be done again…for example, we would have to (print them) in the newspapers and so go ahead and do new prints of the bills and the writs and that would be done,” he said.

However, Phillip assured reporters that there will be no changes to the numbering of the bills, the ballot papers for the voting process or the polling stations.

“Everything remains the same as was planned for the 27th except that persons are given more time to understand the bills and to prepare themselves so that an informed decision can be made and we trust the electorate to make informed decisions in Grenada,” he remarked.

Over 70, 000 persons were officially registered to participate in the referendum if it was held on October 27.

Phillip is hoping that this number would increase with the registration date being extended to November 1st.

The seven bills up for vote on referendum day are Caribbean Court of Justice and other Justice related matters, Elections and Boundaries Commission, Ensuring the Appointment of a Leader of the Opposition, Fixed Date for Elections, Name of State, Rights and Freedom, and Terms of Office of Prime Minister.

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