Holness Says Republic Of Jamaica Coming Soon , As Opinion Polls Say Ditch The Monarchy.

Image: Wikimedia Commons. Future Jamaican postage stamps may feature local heroes like Bob Marley or Usain Bolt instead of the royal head.
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Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness,  has clarified that his Government is committed to pursuing Jamaica’s transition to a Republic in keeping with the wishes of the people.  

Holness was reelected in a landslide in 2020 when his centre-right Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won 49 of 63 seats. However the turnout was low for that election at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday Holness said that members of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) have done a lot of work to garner the views of citizens across the island, and opinion polls have repeatedly shown that “most Jamaicans” want a Republican form of Government–although he did not reveal the exact percentages involved.

The Prime Minister said he has advised the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte and members of the CRC to work on a deal with the Opposition, so that the transition process can be a bipartisan one.

“We have undertaken a major national effort to reform our Constitution and to move towards a Republic. The status now, is that we do not have consensus with the Opposition, but I do not see that as a failure or an end to the process. I see it as part of the process,” the Prime Minister said. 

“I want to reassure the people of Jamaica, especially those persons who would want to see Jamaica become a Republic in their lifetime, that all is not lost, that the Government is still going to pursue it to its logical conclusion,” he emphasised. 

The Prime Minister was speaking at a ribbon cutting for a housing unit under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP) in Palmetto Pen, Clarendon on Friday (May 24). 

His comments follow the decision of the Opposition representatives on the CRC, to not sign off on the Committee’s report until concerns raised about the reform process are resolved. 

The Prime Minister said avenues of communication must be opened with the Opposition, as agreement is critical in securing the two-thirds majority votes needed in both Houses of  Parliament for the reform of the Constitution. 

In addition, he noted that for the referendum for Jamaica to become a republic to be successful, both parties “would have to go to the people as one.” 

In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs will launch a public education campaign to inform the public about the Committee’s recommendations. 

Source: Jamaica GIS.
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