On Tuesday, Acting Governor-General, His Excellency Cyril Errol Melchiades Charles called for unity as he addressed the second session of the 12th parliament of Saint Lucia, asserting that this country must break with the past.
In this regard, the Acting Governor-General voiced his sincere wish that citizens should unite and move forward with purpose, putting aside squabbles.
“This cannot be a time for doubting ourselves nor a time for fighting ourselves. The self-hate of political tribalism, insularity and myopia has to end,” Charles said in his throne speech.
“We must learn from the past, including the folly of the past lest we be cursed to repeat it,” the Acting Governor-General told parliament.
He recalled the ‘decisive mandate’ the current administration gained after the July 26, 2021, general elections, declaring that it was a call for transformation and reform of laws, systems, policies, and processes to ensure good governance.
In this regard, Charles announced that a revamped parliamentary committee dealing with constitutional reform in Saint Lucia would be mandated to consider specific areas such as Prime Ministerial term limits and a fixed date for general elections.
Chares also said that the committee would consider the appointment of a Deputy Speaker and the matter of Saint Lucia becoming a republic.
“Constitutional reform has languished for way too long,” he asserted.
And the Acting Governor-General told parliament that the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government intends to reignite the discourse on the form and style of this country’s democracy, especially in the technological era.
He stated that the government is committed to addressing Saint Lucia’s destiny as an independent nation.
He revealed that this year the Island would take steps towards accession to the appellate jurisdiction of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“We are thus expected to become the fifth CARICOM state to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ,” he stated.
Towards this end, the government has appointed a committee under the Chairmanship of Justice Sir Dennis Byron to prepare the way.
The Acting Governor-General told parliament that draft legislation for amending the constitution to allow for the CCJ accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public scrutiny.
He reiterated earlier assertions regarding the government’s zero tolerance for corruption, stating that Saint Lucia must stamp it out with ‘due haste and vigour.’
The Acting Governor-General said the current administration would review and strengthen legislation to make public officials accountable to the people.
In addition, he reiterated that the government would appoint a special prosecutor and bring legislation to facilitate investigation into alleged acts of corruption and have probes completed during the life of this parliament.