Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre has not ruled out the possibility of Saint Lucia ditching the Queen as the country’s head of state and becoming a republic.
On Thursday, Pierre addressed the issue in an impromptu interview with reporters.
“We are dealing with constitutional reform and we will discuss it with the people of Saint Lucia and if that comes out of the mix, sure we’ll go,” he stated.
“The constitutional review is on. I can tell you there’s a strong argument that we should go that way but the first step is going to the CCJ,” was Pierre’s response when asked whether the issue of Saint Lucia would becoming a republic will be settled during the first five-year term of his Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration.
The Prime Minister had previously cited access to justice for the common person as one of the advantages of replacing the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice as this country’s final appellate court.
The Pierre administration, which enjoys a 13-4 majority in the House of Assembly, has appointed a committee under the chairmanship of former CCJ president Sir Dennis Byron “to prepare the way for Saint Lucia’s accession to the CCJ.”
“The draft legislation for the amendment of St. Lucia’s Constitution to allow for accession has been prepared and will soon be available for public scrutiny,” Acting Governor-General Cyril Errol Charles told Parliament recently.
All of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are signatories to the Original Jurisdiction of the CCJ, which also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement.
But only Barbados, Guyana, Belize, and Dominica have signed on to the Court’s Appellate jurisdiction.