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Jul 22, 2022

Still No Writ of Referendum; What’s Going On?

It has been almost three weeks since the Chief Elections Officer verified that the churches had met the petition threshold to trigger a referendum on the cannabis legislation.  That would legally give the government up to sixty days by which the voting must take place. The final day on which the referendum can be held is September fourth. But since the announcement by Josephine Tamai, Governor General Froyla T’zalam has still not issued a writ of referendum. There are concerns about the delay and its constitutionality. Today, News Five caught up with Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher who explained that the Referendum Act affords the G.G. up to thirty days by which she must issue the writ of referendum.


Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Constitutional & Political Reform

“When the chief elections officer turned over her report to the Governor General, that was on July the fourth. The Referendum Act speaks very clearly that the Governor General has thirty days in which to issue a writ of referendum so that would be going strictly by the calendar, the fourth of August would be the deadline in which the Governor General can issue that writ. It also says in the Referendum Act that the date set in the writ cannot be more than thirty days from the date of the writ. So on the outset, we are looking at September fourth as being the last day in which the referendum can be held.”


Duane Moody

“So it can happen before then?”


Henry Charles Usher

“Certainly it can happen before then. It is up to the Governor General as to when she would issue the writ of referendum.”


Duane Moody

“So there is no issue in terms of the so-called delay?”


Henry Charles Usher

“No, there is no issue at all. As a matter of fact, preparations have already begun at the Elections and Boundaries Department. As you know last week in the House, supplementary bill was tabled. A part of that bill was five million dollars set aside for this referendum. It was passed both in the House and the Senate and so I know that the Chief Elections Officer is probably already – cause she is somebody who likes to be prepared – she’s probably already sending that request to start the process of getting the supplies needed. Of course you know this is like holding a national election so she has to designate and identify public officers who will be manning the polling stations for this ballot. So preparations are already in place in the event that the Governor General does call or issues the writ even before the fourth of August.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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