By Shaun Connolly / The Royal Gazette
Bermuda is on the brink of a constitutional crisis after Britain blocked the Government’s flagship legislation to legalise the use and consumption of cannabis.
In a landmark move, Rena Lalgie, the Governor, said she had been “instructed” by the UK’s foreign secretary to refuse to give royal assent to the Progressive Labour Party’s Cannabis Licensing Bill.
Ms Lalgie previously reserved assent on the legislation in May and called for dialogue between Hamilton and London on the matter.
David Burt, the Premier, said last year that if royal assent was not given to the Bill it would “destroy” relations between Bermuda and Britain.
Following months of tension over the legislation, Ms Lalgie announced the decision on the day Liz Truss was elevated from foreign secretary to prime minister.
The Government insisted it would push on with its initiative as voters had given the PLP a mandate to do so.
Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney General, appeared to put the Government on a collision course with London over the issue.
She said: “Disappointing, but not surprising, given the confines of our constitutional relationship with the UK government and their archaic interpretation of the narcotic conventions.
“The people of Bermuda have democratically expressed their desire for a regulated cannabis licensing regime, following the strong endorsement at the ballot box and an extensive public consultation process.