Bahamians didn’t push the issue of a referendum for a republic into the agenda during the last elections, but a number of Bahamians, including Social Services Minister Obie Wilchcombe and Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell, have endorsed the idea. Former Prime Ministers Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham have also voiced their support for the current government.
The Bahamas is not a republic
While the country has significant powers, the Bahamas does not have the full power of a republic. The Bahamas has a non-executive national president who discharges the functions of the Governor-General. However, the Prime Minister and Cabinet continue to exercise executive powers. Although a transition to a republic would not alter the country’s political landscape, it is not a straightforward process, as there is a lot of symbolism involved.
It is possible that the country will become a republic in the future. In 2012, the country formed a constitutional commission to review the country’s constitution. But the past two governments have shown no interest in pursuing this goal. It has been suggested that the country should not change the Office of the Governor-General but instead implement public education.
Constitutional referendum would have to be held to abandon this system of government
In order to abandon this system of government, a constitutional referendum would need to be held in the country. The referendum would have to consider the relationship of the various countries in the United Kingdom, the role of Britain’s judges, and other matters. But the main issue is whether or not Britons want to give the all-powerful party members of the executive an unrestrained role. The country needs a stable constitution for such a change to take place.
A referendum is an important principle in any government. However, the person calling a referendum must be sure that he will win it, since there are vast political costs involved. The host of POLSIS’ Political Worldview podcast, Dr Quinn, discusses the importance of referendums in a recent episode.
Bahamians have most of the executive authority
The Bahamas is a constitutional monarchy, with the government controlled by the Governor-General and a non-executive national president. The Prime Minister and Cabinet still exercise most of the executive power. The current government has no interest in achieving republican status, and neither did the previous one. The only current example of a republican government is Mia Mottley‘s.
The Bahamas has a bicameral parliamentary system, with a Senate made up of 16 members and a House of Representatives with forty members. The country’s economy is based on tourism, which accounts for about 60 percent of GDP and employs approximately half of its population. Financial services make up a small portion of the economy.
The Prime Minister’s administration supports abandoning the monarchy
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, believes that the country will be a republic within her lifetime. But she’s not alone in this thought. Some countries in the Commonwealth are also reconsidering their relationship with the royals. For example, Barbados elected its own head of state. While the United Kingdom may be able to continue its influence over Caribbean countries, its willingness to break away from the Commonwealth shows the Caribbean’s desire for independence and modernization. The British monarchy is a historical relic of colonialism that will face new challenges in a modern world.
The monarchy has been damaged by the missteps of the queen and her offspring. Despite this, public support for the monarchy is relatively stable. It’s possible to support the institution of the monarchy, but the issue will come down to personal preferences. Besides, few Britons actually know what it will be like to live without a monarch.