Antigua and Barbuda
 National Profiles > > Regions > Caribbean > Antigua and Barbuda
Search National Profiles:

Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1981
Last Amended not amended
Source Political Database of the Americas
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Preamble

WHEREAS the People of Antigua and Barbuda-
a. proclaim that they are a sovereign nation founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person, the entitlement of all persons to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, the position of the family in a society of free men and women and free institutions;


Article 3: Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual

Whereas every person in Antigua and Barbuda is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions or affiliations, color, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following, namely-
a. life, liberty, security of the person, the enjoyment of property and the protection of the law;
b. freedom of conscience, of expression (including freedom of the press) and of peaceful assembly and association; and
c. protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and from deprivation of property without fair compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to the aforesaid rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.


Article 6: Protection from Slavery and Forced Labor

1. No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
2. No person shall be required to perform forced labor.
3. For the purposes of this section, the expression "forced labor" does not include-
a. any labor required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court;
b. any labor required of any person while he is lawfully detained that, though not required in consequence of the sentence or order of a court, is reasonably necessary in the interests of hygiene or for the maintenance of the place at which he is detained;
c. any labor required of a member of a disciplined force in pursuance of his duties as such or, in the case of a person who has conscientious objections to service as a member of a naval, military or air force, any labor that person is required by law to perform in place of such service;
d. any labor required during any period of public emergency or, in the event of any other emergency or calamity that threatens the life and well-being of the community, to the extent that the requiring of such labor is reasonably justifiable in the circumstances of any situation arising or existing during that period or as a result of that other emergency or calamity, for the purpose of dealing with that situation.


Article 11: Protection of Freedom of Conscience

1. Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of conscience, and for the purposes of this section the said freedom includes freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and both in public and in private, to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. Except with his own consent (or, if he is under the age, of eighteen years, the consent of his parent or guardian) no person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if that instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own.
3. No person shall be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his religion or belief or to take any oath in a manner which is contrary to his religion or belief.
4. Nothing contained in or done under that authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision that is reasonably required-
a. in the interests of defense, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or
b. for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, including the right to observe and practice any religion without the unsolicited intervention of members of any other religion,
- and except so far as that provision or, as the case may be, the thing done under the authority thereof is shown not to be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
5. Reference in this section to a religion shall be construed as including references to a religious denomination, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.


Article 14: Protection from Discrimination on the Grounds of Race, Sex etc.

1. Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
2. Subject to the provisions of subsections (6), (7) and (8) of this section, no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
3. In this section, the expression "discriminatory" means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, place of origin, political opinions or affiliations, color, creed, or sex whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages that are not accorded to persons of another such description.
4. Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as the law makes provision-
a. for the appropriation of public revenues or other public funds;
b. with respect to persons who are not citizens; or
c. whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage that, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
5. Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes provision with respect to qualifications (not being qualifications specifically relating to race, place of origin, political opinions or affiliations, color, creed or sex) for service as a public officer or as a member of a disciplined force or for the service of a local government authority or a body corporate established by any law for public purposes.
6. Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to anything that is expressly or by necessary implication authorized to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or (5) of this section.
7. Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that that law in question makes provision whereby persons of any such description as in mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any restriction on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by sections 8, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of this Constitution, being such a restriction as is authorized by paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3) of section 8, subsection (2) of section 10, subsection (4) of section 11, subsection (4) of section 12 or subsection (2) of section 13, as the case may be.
8. Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall affect any discretion relating to the institution, conduct or discontinuance of civil or criminal proceedings in any court that is vested in any person by or under this Constitution or any other law.


Article 16: Derogations from Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Under Emergency Powers

Nothing contained in or done under the authority of a law enacted by Parliament shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of section 5 or section 14 of this Constitution to the extent that the law authorizes the taking during any period of public emergency of measures that are reasonably justifiable, for dealing with the situation that exists in Antigua and Barbuda during that period.


Article 30: Disqualification From Appointment as Senators

1. No person shall be qualified to be appointed as a Senator who-
a. is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement or allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state;
b. is a member of the House;
c. is an undischarged bankrupt, having been declared bankrupt under any law;
is a person certified to be insane or otherwise adjudged to be of unsound mind under any law;
e. is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court or has been sentenced to imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term of or exceeding twelve months and has not either suffered the punishment to which he was sentenced or such other punishment as may be competent authority have been substituted therefor, or received a free pardon;
f. is disqualified for election to the House by or under any law by reason of his connection with any offence relating to elections;
g. holds or is acting in any public office or in the office of judge of the Supreme Court or Ombudsman, or is a member of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, the Public Service Commission or the Police Service Commission;
h. has, within the period of ten years immediately preceding the proposed date of his appointment as a Senator, been convicted on indictment by a court of competent jurisdiction of theft, fraud or other such crime involving dishonesty and who-
(i). has not appealed against that conviction; or
(ii). has appealed against that conviction and whose appeal has not been allowed; and
(iii) has not received a free pardon in respect of the offense; or
i. is a minister of religion.


Article 39: Disqualifications From Election as a Member of the House

1. No person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the House who-
a. is, by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state;
b. is a Senator or temporary member of the Senate;
c. is an undischarged bankrupt, having been declared bankrupt under any law;
d. is a person certified to be insane or otherwise adjudged to be of unsound mind under any law;
e. is under sentence of death imposed on him by a court or has been sentenced to imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term of or exceeding twelve months and has not either suffered the punishment to which he was sentenced or such other punishment as may by competent authority have been substituted therefor, or received a free pardon;
f. is disqualified for appointment to the House by or under any law by reason of his connection with any offence relating to elections;
g. holds or is acting in any public office or in the office of judge of the Supreme Court or Ombudsman or is a member of the Constituencies Boundaries Commission, the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, the Public Service Commission or the Police Service Commission;
h. has, within the period of ten years immediately preceding the proposed date of his election as a member of the House, been convicted on indictment by a court of competent jurisdiction of theft, fraud, or other such crime involving dishonesty and who-
(i). has not appealed against that conviction, or
(ii). has appealed against that conviction and whose appeal has not been allowed; and
(iii). has not received a free pardon in respect of the offense; or
i. is a minister of religion.


Schedule 3 to the Constitution

Oath (or Affirmation) of Allegiance

I, ______________, do swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will faithfully bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, according to law.
So help me God. (To be omitted in affirmation).


Oath (or Affirmation) of Office

I, ______________, do swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will honor, uphold and preserve the Constitution of Antigua and Barbuda and the law, that I will conscientiously, impartially and to the best of my ability discharge my duties as [sic] and do right to all manner of people without fear or favor, affection or ill-will.
So help me God. (To be omitted in affirmation).


Oath (or Affirmation) of Office

I, ______________, do swear (or solemnly affirm) that I will not on any account, at any time whatsoever, disclose any counsel, advice, opinion or vote given by any Minister as a member of Cabinet and that I will not, except with the authority of the Cabinet and to such extent as may be required for the proper conduct of the government of Antigua and Barbuda, directly or indirectly reveal the business or proceedings of the Cabinet or any matter coming to my knowledge as a member of (or Secretary to) the Cabinet.
So help me God. (To be omitted in affirmation).



[Note: The constitutional text hosted by the Political Database of the Americas is reproduced from official government sources.]

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.