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CONSTITUTION AND ADMINISTRATION

The Saint Lucia Constitution came into operation on February 22, 1979, the date on which Saint Lucia attained independence from Britain.

Supreme Law Alteration

The Constitution is the supreme law of Saint Lucia and any other law which is inconsistent with it is void. Provision is made in SECTION 41 for the alteration of any of the provisions of the constitution. A bill to alter this section must be supported by the votes of not less than three-quarters of all the members of the House. To alter any of the other provisions of the Constitution, the support of two- thirds of the members are needed. Certain provisions may also be changed by referendum based on the majority of the votes validly cast.

Constitutional Provisions

The Constitution makes provision for, among other things: the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms; the establishment of the Governor General; the composition of Parliament and the Senate; the House of Assembly; the procedure to be followed by Parliament; the delimitation of constituencies; the establishment of commissions; and the establishment of the office of Parliamentary Commissioner

GOVERNMENT

The way in which Saint Lucia is to be governed is also set out by the Constitution. Government consists of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary, based on the separation of powers principle.

The Governor General

The Governor General represents Her Majesty the Queen, the official Head of State. His functions are mainly ceremonial, and include the important duties of opening the House of Assembly on an annual basis by delivering the Throne Speech, and assenting to Bills passed by the legislature.

Parliament

In addition to the Office of the Governor General, a two-house system of Parliament exists. It is made up of a Senate and a House of Assembly. The Senate consists of eleven nominated members. The House of Assembly consists of seventeen elected Members.

Administration

A Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General from among the members of the House of Assembly. This is the person who appears to the Governor General likely to command the support of the majority of the members of the House. In practice this person is usually the leader of the political party which controls the majority of the seats in the House of Assembly.

The size and composition of the Cabinet is in the prerogative of the Prime Minister. He may choose to add, alter or to reshuffle the Cabinet in any manner he deems fit.

 

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