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Baptiste: Currency will remain the same

Baptiste: Currency will remain the same

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The Eastern Caribbean Dollar used by St.Vincent and the Grenadines will remain the state’s official currency even if the proposed 2009 Constitution is approved in the referendum.{{more}}

Minister of Electoral Matters René Baptiste addressed the issue at a rally held by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) at Rabacca on Sunday, October 4.

“I don’t want you to be listening to the rubbish I hear on the radio. They say something about we going to get a new money. Dominica is a republic in the OECS…Dominica using the same money that we are using,” said Baptiste, as she appealed to the crowd not to let anyone trick them.

“You come here to get enlightenment…we are here to deliver the truth to you, and the truth is the money is not going to change!” said Baptiste.

She said what would be changed is the current system of Government. She added there will be a president instead of a governor general.

Baptiste promised the large crowd that once the proposed constitution is passed, a Human Rights Commission will be established.

“I hear you bemoan that things happen and we don’t know as representatives. Well, you will have a human rights commission. Not a human rights association of friends,” said Baptiste.

“We have seen the light since 2001. In 1979 there was a dawn of a new day when we got political independence from Britain, but this time we are in the forefront of the struggle. We are the soldiers. We are carrying the banner. We want a new republic.”

Taking the podium, Minister of Telecommunications Dr Jerrol Thompson described the process of establishing a constitution by the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines as a defining moment for his party, the nation, and the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“If ever there was a time, this is the time. And, I ask you if not now, then when? The eyes of the whole world are on us and those of our relatives and friends out there in the Diaspora,” said Thompson, as he promised “we will not let them down.”

He said the 1979 Constitution was handed down to Vincentians.

“It never had six years of consultation. It never had the involvement of the people like you. It never had the CRC (Constitution Review Commission). It never had the massive process of education,” said Thompson, adding that the Constitution of 1979 has major deficiencies.

Billed as a future prime minister by Hans King, Press Secretary to Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves, Junior Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Saboto Caesar made a dynamic presentation.

He said: “In 1979 we received our national independence. Since then we were able to have our own national anthem. We have our own national flag. We have our own national bird. We have our national flower, but 30 years later we cannot say that we have a constitution which is homegrown, a constitution which is our own.”

Caesar spent much of his presentation dealing with the rights guaranteed young people in the proposed constitution.

“A vote “Yes” is a vote for the appreciation of our young people. A vote “Yes” is for more rights for our young people,” Caesar expounded.

He also addressed the rights of a child and protection of the children. Caesar noted the new constitution makes provisions for children to be protected as expressed in relevant international treaties.

On the issue of the composition of Parliament, Caesar explained that a young person can become a member of Parliament and run for general elections at the age of 18. Under the current constitution one has to be 21 years old to do so.

“We must remember that the average 18-year-old today knows much than me when I was at the age of 18,” said Caesar, adding, he never touched a computer until he left secondary school. (HN)

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