Media Center

Press Release


  November 20, 2009

The Secretary General of the Organization of the American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the Hemispheric Organization, Ambassador La Celia A. Prince, signed Friday an agreement to establish the basic terms of the OAS Mission in charge of observing the National Referendum to be carried out by this nation on November 25th.

During the ceremony held at the OAS Headquarters in Washington DC, which was also attended by the President of the Permanent Council and Ambassador of Colombia to the OAS, Luis Alfonso Hoyos, Mr. Insulza highlighted the referendum as “a matter of great interest for the region, as it is the first constitutional referendum in the Eastern Caribbean.”

In regard to the OAS work in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Secretary General said the Organization is involved with technical assistance. “The OAS, through the Technical Cooperation Fund (FEMCIDI) finances part of the work of the Constitutional Review Commission, which in 2002 and 2003 began working on a draft. We are very happy to be instrumental to that.”

Ambassador Prince said that her Government is “very proud because Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is showing its maturity in seeking to bring to the people their own constitution. We do believe that it is time that we have a document which we can claim to be our own.”

“Because of the importance of this document, we are very grateful to the OAS for its participation with us in this important matter. The OAS has been participating and giving guidance as to how we can meet this process, one that is very good, transparent, and one that can be replicated,” she added.

The Referendum will ask citizens to approve or disapprove a new draft constitution, which will replace the one in force since the country’s independence in 1979. If passed by two thirds of the population, the proposed constitution would create a Republic, remove Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State, create the figure of a President nominated by the two political parties and create a Court of Appeals.

The consultation is the first of its kind to be held by a member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Reference: E-389/09