Jamaica remains committed to Republic status

Marlene Malahoo Forte

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the process of transitioning the country from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Republic.

Holness told the newly formed Constitutional Reform Committee at the Prime Minister’s Office that the approach must be collaborative and guided by expert advice.

“In spite of the delay in formally establishing this constitutional reform committee, I am pleased we have all made progress. I would like to thank all of you gathered today for graciously accepting the Government’s invitation,” he said.

The Committee, which includes members of the Government, the Parliamentary Opposition, relevant experts, and members of the general public, has been formed to ensure Jamaica’s smooth transition to a republic.

Holness stated that the government has made a deliberate decision to build on the work of previous administrations in order to move the country closer to Republican status.

“We took the position that we should not seek to restart while ignoring the work that has already been completed.” Because significant work was completed, we consider this a building step. It simplifies the work, and I’m confident we’ll move faster as a result of taking into account and incorporating what has been done,” he added.

The Committee’s work will include a thorough and comprehensive review of the 1962 Constitution, including the 2011 Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, as well as recommendations for reform made by previous constitutional reform commissions and committees.

Meanwhile, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, emphasized that partisan interests will be set aside during the Committee’s deliberations.

The Minister greeted the members and reminded them of their mission and the work that remained to be done. “It is an enormous honour for us to be a part of the work ahead of us…It’s been a long road to get here,” she said.

The Constitutional Reform Committee is made up of 14 members, including Co-Chairs Minister Malahoo Forte and Ambassador Rocky Meade, the Attorney General, Dr Derrick McKoy, and Opposition Representatives Anthony Hylton and Senator Donna Scott Mottley.

Laleta Davis-Mattis, Senator Ransford Braham, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, Dr Nadeen Spence, Sujae Boswell, Hugh Small, Dr David Henry, Professor Richard Albert, and Dr Lloyd Barnett are among the other members.