Work to push Jamaica to republic status hits snag

Mrs Malahoo Forte

The government is blaming the delay in the process of transitioning Jamaica to a republic from a constitutional monarchy on the opposition. Leader Mark Golding declined to name representatives to the Constitutional Reform Committee.

The appointment of the two representatives from the opposition, Mark Golding and Marlene Malahoo Forte, to the high-level committee on constitutional reform, which was to be announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday, had to be postponed, according to the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte.

In a declaration to the House of Representatives, she gave notice that the government is prepared to move forward with talks to end Jamaica’s constitutional monarchy and establish a republic, with or without the parliamentary opposition’s involvement. Malahoo Forte expressed his dissatisfaction, and Golding responded by highlighting the opposition’s worries about a piecemeal reform strategy.

Regarding the parts of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms that the government has said it will modify, he is demanding a written and open response from the minister. The head of the opposition reiterated his party’s reservations regarding Jamaica’s final court of appeal continuing to be the Privy Council.

Malahoo Forte told that the Government plans to hold a referendum on the establishment of a republic and all firmly established elements of the constitution early next year while outlining the specifics of the committee’s terms of reference.

-Read more in the Jamaica Observer

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