CNW-The Jamaican government says it is aiming for the country to become a republic by the time the next general election is constitutionally due in 2025.
The timeline was announced by Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte during her sectoral debate on June 7.
The issue of Jamaica’s Constitution and removing Queen Elizabeth II as the island’s head of state were among the key issues discussed during her presentation.
Minister Malahoo Forte noted that since Barbados became a republic in 2021, the world has been watching and waiting to see which Caribbean country will make the next move.
“The continued symbolic presence of the British Crown in the constitutional make-up of our state and other commonwealth Caribbean states has been repeatedly placed on reform agendas here and across the region,” she said.
“With ‘Little England’ severing ties from Queen Elizabeth “Big England” and establishing the Republic of Barbados in 2021, and Prime Minister Holness ‘s announcement of his government’s intention to move on from a constitutional monarchy, eyes are now focused on the remaining commonwealth Caribbean realms to see who will take the next step when,” she added.
In order to become a republic, the Barbados Parliament had to amend the Barbados Independence Order 1966, which required a two-thirds majority.
Minister Malahoo Forte explained that Jamaica’s republic process, however, will include a two-thirds majority vote in parliament along with a referendum.
“The reform work to be done in order to achieve the goal of a new Constitution require cooperation between the government and the parliamentary opposition, as well as the seal of the people,” she explained.
The timeline for the republic status in 2025, when the next general election is due in Jamaica.
“I have been looking at Jamaica’s attitude to referendum because we are going there and we are going there hopefully by the time the next election comes around, unless more pressing matters or something else overtakes [it], but that is the aim,” she said.
The minister also announced that the work to be done to reform the Constitution “has formally commenced.”
The issue of Jamaica becoming a republic has been hinted at by past prime ministers. However, it came to the fore in 2021, when Barbados became a republic nation.
In March this year, during a courtesy call from Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who were visiting the island, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced officially that Jamaica is “moving on” from its colonial past and would be cutting ties with the British monarchy in short order.