Allegiance to the Queen

Dear Editor,

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is known to be anti-colonial. In fact it is not a secret that he is a leftist, being close to Cuba, Venezuela and other communist countries. A move by him in 2009 to remove the Queen as the Head of the multi island state was defeated in a referendum.

However he and his son, Camilo, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs in their own way played down Her Majesty.

Legislation was passed on Tuesday where officials now swearing allegiance will no longer have to do so to the Queen, but now to the Constitution of St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, Her Majesty remains the Head.

Gonsalves told Parliament that from time immemorial, the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of execution of office has been sworn, in accordance with the existing law to Her Majesty, her heirs and successor. He added that although Her Majesty is the head of state, it does not necessarily follow that you have to swear the allegiance to her. There is no constitutional provision to that effect in our Constitution. Parliament has made the law and Parliament can change the Oaths of Officials Act.

The Prime Minister made it quite clear that he does not expect that in serving the people of SVG “we will not be serving her majesty. But it is just what is where sense of our primary obligation is, and that is what it is about. Simply and straight forward.

Gonsalves noted that his son Camilo noted his objection to having to swear allegiance to Her Majesty when he was sworn in as a senator in 2013. The young Gonsalves, who is an attorney, is Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he did the research on the issue.

Jamaicans do not have to swear allegiance to the Queen. In fact SVG took a page from reggae land.

Incidentally Thursday June 2 marked the 64th anniversary when Queen Elizabeth was crowned Queen.

Yours truly,

Oscar Ramjeet