KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Thursday June 2, 2016 – Parliament has passed an amendment bill to get rid of the practice of officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines swearing allegiance to the Queen when taking oaths of office.
But Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says it’s not any disrespect to Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s ceremonial Head of State.
Instead of promising to bear allegiance to the Queen and her heirs and successors, officials will instead swear to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines” in their oath of allegiance and to “well and truly serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines” in the oath of execution of office.
Gonsalves pointed to countries like Jamaica that have the Queen as their Head of State but do not swear allegiance to her.
He stressed that there was no constitutional requirement for officials to swear allegiance to the Queen and the amendment to the Oaths by Officials Act simply makes the oath more “consistent with the sensibilities of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, even though they may still wish to acknowledge Her Majesty”.
In November 2009, a referendum in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on proposed changes to the Constitution – including a switch from the Queen to a president elected by the National Assembly as the ceremonial Head of State – was defeated.