This was the headline over a report by Jeff Trotman in The Vincentian on 26 November 2009 concerning the defeat of the republican referendum in the Commonwealth Realm, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Vincentian is the national newspaper of this Caribbean Realm.
“Some 55.64% of the votes cast were done so against the proposed document at Wednesday’s referendum, while 43.16% voted for it – a far cry from the 66.7% that was needed to make the proposed constitution, the supreme law of the land.”
As a result, The Queen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Elizabeth II, will continue her long reign. Like Australia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not be a politicians' republic.
“Both from a political standpoint and the constitution this is a massacre,” said renowned attorney at law and social commentator, Andrew Cummings, Q.C., as he gave live comments on radio and television as the results were announced from the Electoral Office, Kingstown.
He expressed befuddlement that a government with so much political capital could have convinced itself that it could have received 66.7% at the referendum.
Stressing that the government not only failed by a large margin to achieve a victory at the referendum, but also lost by a large margin to the opposition, Mr.Cummings said: “Something had to go palpably wrong in the calculations and the application of the intellect in the procedure…. This is really a massive miscalculation.”
The Vincentian reported that Mr. Cummings said that the government would be forced to “a supreme effort” to reverse the results at the upcoming general elections which are due in a year’s time.
He said that while one might want to dismiss the results as just how the electorate feels about the constitution, one does not know what is in the minds of the voters, and it would be foolhardy for the government and political analysts to ignore the results.
…the voice of the people must be accepted…
“Whether the government can recover and rebuild is left to be seen,” Mr. Cummings said. “Everybody seems to suggest it’s a political vote. And if it is a political vote, it’s serious stuff.”
He said although he would like to see some aspects of the constitution come on board, it must be accepted that “the people voted no” and their voice must be heard and accepted.
If the Vincentian republican politicians are similar to Australia’s, their view will be the people must keep on voting ….until they get it right.
A social activist and commentator, Renrick Rose, said that “ a government with 43% at a referendum has to listen to the people if it wants to recoup its fortunes.”.
Many Vincentians braved heavy rainfall during the morning to cast their vote. The rain subsided in the post lunch period. The Supervisor of Elections, Mrs. Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb told The Vincentian that the turn out was good despite the rain.
…a message from Australia….
I submitted the following comment to the newspaper’s site:
“Warm congratulations from Australia to the wise people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A proposal ten years ago to establish a politicians' republic in Australia was defeated by a roughly similar national vote. It also failed to obtain a majority in a majority of states – every state voted NO, as did 72% of electorates.
This was despite a massive very well funded campaign by almost all of the main stream media and two thirds of the politicians, state and federal. We Australians are happy to live in our Federal Commonwealth under the Crown, our Crowned Republic.
We wish the noble and wise people of our fellow Commonwealth Realm, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, all the best.”