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Trevor Walker moves private member bill to amend the Constitution

The Parliamentary Representative for Barbuda, Trevor Walker, has introduced a private member bill in the Lower House that will, among other things, attempt to do away with swearing an Oath of Allegiance to the United Kingdom’s monarch.

Walker wants to have Section 1 (27) of the Constitution amended so that officers who are required to swear an Oath of Allegiance do so to the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda rather than to the king or queen of England.

Currently, Oaths of Allegiance must be sworn by persons serving as governor general, prime minister, members of parliament, ombudsman, members of the Cabinet and parliamentary secretaries.

Members of the Public Service Commission and every person who becomes a citizen by registration must also swear an Oath of Allegiance.

“Since our independence in 1981, these individuals have sworn an Oath of Allegiance, not to the people of Antigua and Barbuda, but to a foreign monarch.

“As our nation prepares for our 41st anniversary of independence, I am of the view that we should all swear to our supreme law, our Constitution, and to our people,” MP Walker declared.

Walker also pledged his support to moving Antigua and Barbuda toward becoming a republic “when the time comes”.

“The time has come for us to deal with that situation seriously and what we are doing today is the first step in our establishment of our Constitution as our supreme entity,” he stated.

In response, Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin confirmed that Antigua and Barbuda would first have to become a republic to make the constitutional changes advanced by MP Walker.

Benjamin, who noted that he has sought the advice of several regional legal luminaries on the issue of parting ways with the monarchy and becoming a republic, said he expects a report on the matter shortly.

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