GG will sign, no need for concern
February 15, 2011
GG will sign, no need for concern

It is no cause for concern that His Excellency the Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne has not yet signed the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, says Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

Gonsalves, at a press conference on Wednesday, February 9, at Cabinet Room, said as a result of the constitutional system that is in place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the bill, which was passed in Parliament on January 28, will eventually be signed.

“Parliament enacts the bill. The bill is then signed (or) assented to, as is said, by the Governor General. Then it becomes operationalized when published in the Gazette,” said Gonsalves.

“We do not have in St. Vincent and the Grenadines a monarchical system where there is an ancient monarch, or the Governor General, [who] is a representative of an ancient monarch which has the power to undo the will of Parliament,” the Prime Minister added.

Following the passage of the bill, Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace indicated that he had written to Sir Frederick and had appealed to him not to sign the bill into law, which requires that persons seeking to file private criminal complaints first seek permission from the Director of Public Prosecution.

The Prime Minister said that this move by Eustace was in vain.

“When Mr. Eustace says that he has written the Governor General to [ask him] not to sign the bill, does he really expect in a constitutional monarchy that a Governor General in St. Vincent, or in the case in the United Kingdom the queen, would do other than sign the bill?

“So you raise these forlorn hopes all the time and people will say ‘Ah yes, let’s wait’ and then when the Governor General signs it, you then attack him,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves said the Opposition must understand what the Constitution says.

“It’s as simple as that,” he contended.

“The People elect a Parliament; we have a representative democracy. The Parliament has passed a law. When the bill is assented to, if you think as a citizen that the Act offends the Constitution, bring a constitutional motion,” the Prime Minister advised.

Gonsalves remarked that no one has said that the Bill has offended the Constitution and that he was surprised as to the persons who were protesting the Bill’s passage.

“When they say the Bill takes away a pre-existing right which you have; that’s not true. The Bill puts in place a procedural safeguard to prevent abuse, and if you don’t agree with the DPP, go for judicial review,” he further stated.(JJ)