ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Speaker of the House of Representatives D Gisele Isaac has said she is not passionate about replacing the Queen as the head of state for Antigua & Barbuda.
As head of state, Queen Elizabeth II is represented in Antigua & Barbuda by a Governor General who acts on the advice of the prime minister and the Cabinet.
Recently Jamaica reiterated its intention to sever ties with the crown and switch to a republican government.
At least two Caricom states, Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica currently have an elected president as head of state and other regional governments have been floating the idea.
Isaac said, “I don’t have very strong views about it.” She however indicated willingness to listen to what the benefits of a Republican status would be.
“But I really don’t see the harm” in the current system “especially as we already have so many British systems in place,” the House Speaker said.
“Are we going to throw out all of them or are we just going to get rid of that particular one,” she questioned.
Supporters argue that replacing the Queen as head of state is a way of cutting the umbilical cord that has always tied us to the former colonial masters, but Isaac said she doesn’t see the benefits of doing so.
Meanwhile, her views are a little more definitive on another institution of Great Britain, the Privy Council, which remains the final court of appeal for Antigua & Barbuda.
Isaac told OBSERVER Media that she has mixed views on the question of making the Caribbean Court of Justice, based in Trinidad & Tobago, the region’s final appellate court.
On the one hand she has “faith in our innate capacity to administer the court” while on the other she believes concerns over the court’s independence is “hard to discredit.”
Last month both Trinidad & Tobago and Dominica signalled their intention to make the CCJ their final court of appeal.