NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday that he believes Bahamians should have an opportunity to discuss becoming a republic.
Lloyd made the comment when asked his views on the controversial social debate surrounding removing the queen as The Bahamas’ head of state and move towards becoming a republic.
In July last year, Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells told The Nassau Guardian that he was among the minority who believe The Bahamas should remove “all of those trappings”.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet, Lloyd said “That’s something that has been discussed over and repeatedly, questions about whether The Bahamas should become a republic and I think that that is something the Bahamian people should have an opportunity to discuss”.
He pointed to the 2004 Constitutional Commission headed by Paul Adderley which revealed that there were mixed feelings about the retention of the Queen of England as Queen of the Bahamas and Head of State of The Bahamas.
The commission’s report stated that “The abolition of the English monarch as Head of State of the Bahamas is part of the evolutionary process toward a truly peoples
Lloyd insisted that he’d “like to hear what the people have to say about it and to whether that form of government suits the aspirations of our people at this time.”
Asked whether that’s something he personally supports, the education minister continued, “I think a discussion is appropriate absolutely and I believe that it is necessary as we evolve as a people, to have that discussion and determine how we want to govern ourselves.
“The question that some will ask is and this has also been proffered, that we have not maximize dour parliamentary democracy has we have it now, and we are considering another form government.
“Why not look and see how we can utilize all of the benefits and opportunities and advantages that is now presently available to us that we have not yet taken advantage of.”
The 2012 Constitutional Commission headed by Sean McQweeny, Q.C. made similar recommendations about the move.
“At this time, the Commission does not recommend any change in the Office of the Governor General as the representative of the Queen as Head of State under our system of constitutional monarchy,” the report said.
“The Commission is nonetheless of the view that this is the inevitable terminus of constitutional evolution to full sovereignty and independence. Moreover, we cannot allow ourselves the delusional luxury of assuming that the Queen (or King) of England will forever be available to be Sovereign of The Bahamas.”