KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, CMC ? Legislation aimed at providing a new constitution for St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be presented to Parliament on Tuesday, less than three months before citizens vote whether to accept or reject the new document in a referendum.
In recent weeks there have been meetings involving legislators and members of the Constitution Review Committee on possible amendments to the bill.
Citizens will be asked to vote on the new constitution in November to replace the one that that came into effect when the island gained political independence from Britain 30 years ago.
Both the government of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) have announced differing positions on the issue.
Prime Minister Gonsalves has promised ?a spirited campaign? as the government seeks to secure the necessary two-thirds majority required for the new constitution.
?You are going to see a spirited campaign for a ?Yes? vote as you would see for any election,? he told reporters.
But NDP leader Arnhim Eustace has pledged to embark on a campaign to get citizens to vote against the proposed constitution.
?We will campaign against it fully like if we are running an election campaign,? Eustace said.
The NDP has withdrawn its support for the proposed constitution, saying that it does not advance the 1979 document.
The legislation for proposed new constitution will be tabled after six years of consultations with Vincentians at home and in the diaspora.
Meanwhile, the People?s Movement for Change (PMC), a local pressure group, is calling for a postponement of the referendum until after the next general elections.
The PMC said that ?years of effort and scarce financial resources expended so far can be saved if the referendum is depoliticised? by delaying the referendum until ?a time when both major parties will have the opportunity to think in the national interest rather than from a partisan vantage point?.
General elections are not due here until the end of next year but the grouping said rescheduling the referendum ?would effectively minimise the current partisan approach to the proposed constitution Bill 2009?.