The Government will move swiftly toward transitioning Jamaica into a republic, according to the Prime Minister, the Most Honorable Andrew Holness.
Holness, speaking at the Half Moon Hotel in St. James on January 14 for Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett’s 25th Anniversary Scholarship Programme, noted that while he inherited the process, he never intended it to be “a straight line.”
“It is time that Jamaica become a republic. For us, the process is not simple, and we have known this from we started on this journey, and we are making sure that we check every box as we move deliberately in that regard,” the Prime Minister noted.
“So, I’m saying to you, Honourable Minister (Marlene Malahoo Forte), please move ahead with speed and alacrity on this matter. Jamaica must become a Republic,” he said, adding that the government is in for the long haul and will do everything it takes to see the process through.
Last week, Malahoo Forte highlighted the government’s “disappointment” at the failure to select the high-level committee on constitutional revision, blaming the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) for delaying the commencement of Jamaica’s transition to a republican state.
Forte told Parliament that although a referendum is required for Jamaica to transition away from the British monarch as its head of state, the process must involve collaboration across party lines and communication with ordinary Jamaicans.
She stated that it was the aim of the government to name the members of the high-level committee on Tuesday, but she regretfully informed the Jamaican people that this was not possible.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding defended the opposition’s position on the matter, noting that the circumstances were not so straightforward, as Malahoo Forte had only recently responded to a letter he sent to her in June 2022 requesting information on proposed amendments to the Jamaica Constitution and concerns regarding the Privy Council remaining Jamaica’s final appellate court.
The transition to a republic would entail Jamaica removing King Charles III as head of state for the country, which currently recognizes him as its monarch. Jamaica achieved independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962.
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