September 18, 2009
Sir James: President and Speaker should be elected

“If you want to get rid of the Queen, who not interfering with anybody, let the people choose the president.”{{more}}

This was the advice of former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves when he returned to the political platform on Tuesday, as part of the New Democratic Party’s Vote NO Campaign.

Sir James was speaking on the proposed constitution’s provision that the president should be selected by the Prime Minister and the “Minority Leader”, or by the “National Assembly” if the two fail to reach an agreement.

He said this method was no different from the appointment of a Governor General by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.

“If we need to have a president, even though he has no more authority than a Governor General and we are catering to advancement of cultural identity, there is no reason why we should not have a president directly elected by the people…,” Sir James said.

The past president and leader of the NDP joined his party’s push to see the failure of the Constitution Bill 2009 at the referendum vote which takes place on November 25 this year.

“One other suggestion I have is that the Speaker (of the House) should be an elected member and thus reduce the cost of parliament,” Sir James added.

“He must be an elected member and [whatever] the stupidity or the brilliance that he shows there, he must face the people for his behaviour with an election.”