ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) – The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has voiced concern over the format being used to publicise the writ for the November 24 referendum for a new constitution for Grenada.
NDC Chairman Vincent Roberts said the writ was being freely distributed by newspaper vendors and that the intention of such notices is not just to meet a legal requirement, but to provide information and educate voters as to why they are about to cast a ballot.
But NDC deputy leader, Joseph Andall, said that the party had not seen any evidence to suggest that the writ had been published in accordance with the laws governing the holding of a referendum in Grenada.
The original date for the referendum was October 27, but on October 18, Attorney General Cajeton Hood announced that a decision had been taken to postpone the event to allow for more time for the education campaign.
He said there were concerns regarding one of the seven bills which seek to add additional rights to citizens including that of the right to vote, to public funded education the right to recognise members of the disabled community the right to be told why one is being detained, the right to have a lawyer when entangled with the law, the right to remain silent, and the right to gender equality.
But critics say the gender equality component would allow for same-sex marriage in Grenada, a position denied by the framers of the legislation.
Supervisor of Election Alex Philli said on October 19 that Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade had instructed that the new date for the referendum will be November 24.
The law requires that notice of writ and bills to be voted be published in two widely circulated newspapers as well as being gazetted.
The Parliamentary Elections Office used the weekly Grenada Advocate and the Caribupdate
newspapers to publish the writ as well as distributed freely thousands of copies of the document throughout the island.
“The legal requirement may be met, but the people are being hoodwinked,” Roberts maintained.