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Mottley reduces Parliamentary eligibility age to 18

Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Tuesday declared that her government was simply “doing the right” thing in amending the 55-year-old Barbados Constitution to change the qualifications for membership in both houses of Parliament.

She insisted that her government was “correcting a wrong” by reducing the age for eligibility to sit in Parliament to 18, and giving a voice to the opposition by allowing them to recommend appointments to the Senate even when they hold no seats in the House of Assembly.

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Addressing a Lower House void of opposition members, occasioned by her Barbados Labour Party (BLP) winning all 30 seats in the January 19 general elections, Mottley stressed the importance of the Constitution reflecting the reality of society, and insisted that Parliament, often used in the past as an instrument of oppression, must be “a tool of empowerment for our people”.

“This government is doing this because it is the right thing to do, both for purposes of non-discrimination on the basis of age and for inclusion in terms of voices who have a legitimate right to be heard and to be represented in our nation, even if not in the Lower House,” she said in her contribution to debate on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2022 that was introduced by Attorney General Dale Marshall as the House met at the Worthing Corporate Centre for the first time since last month’s polls.

The most controversial of the amendments seeks to give a political party with the second-highest votes in a general election the opportunity to appoint two Senators where there is no Leader of the Opposition. The other reduces the age of eligibility for the Senate and the House of Assembly from 21 to 18.

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“I believe that if we want our young people to be agents of fairness, if we want our people in society not to discriminate against each other, then the two principles that these constitutional amendments speak to are vital – non-discrimination on the basis of age and inclusion on the basis of relevance and participation, because the Democratic Labour Party and other political parties, even though they did not win the election, received support from citizens of our nation and residents of our nation and those citizens and residents have a right in a restructured Parliament and in a restructured Barbados to have their voices heard,” Mottley insisted.

PM says Constitution must be a tool of empowerment  Barbados Today


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