Sun | May 26, 2024

Gov’t to move with ‘speed’ towards republic

Published:Tuesday | January 17, 2023 | 12:29 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

WESTERN BUREAU:

PRIME MINISTER Andrew Holness has given instructions to Marlene Malahoo Forte, minister of legal and constitutional affairs, to proceed with “speed” towards transforming Jamaica into a republic.

“It is time that Jamaica becomes a republic. For us, the process is not simple, and we have known this since we started on this journey. And we are making sure that we check every box as we move deliberately in that regard,” Holness said.

“So I’m saying to you minister (Malahoo Forte), please move ahead with speed and alacrity on this matter, Jamaica must become a republic.”

Holness said that his administration will be taking the necessary steps needed to transform Jamaica from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, and that his administration will not be derailed.

“But whatever political footwork that those who call for it – and now don’t want it, and now are trying to obfuscate and confuse – whatever footwork they may choose to engage in, we are walking a straight line to the objective,” the prime minister insisted.

The Mark Golding-led People’s National Party parliamentary Opposition has been accused by the Government of holding out on naming two members to a committee to deal with constitutional reform, the engine that will advise the Government of the timeline and steps to take to unshackle Jamaica from the British monarch and becoming a republic.

Golding, who was responding to Malahoo Forte’s statement in Parliament last week, noted that he wrote to her last June seeking clarity on the work of the Constitution Reform Committee, among other things, but had not received a response until January 5 this year.

“I’ve written to her to say I would like full and transparent disclosure of which amendments require a referendum the Government is intent to pursue. I would like to know that before we embark on this committee exercise,” Golding said, in response to the Government’s accusation.

The Opposition leader also said that he had communicated to Malahoo Forte, who will chair the committee, that the matter of the Caribbean Court of Justice becoming Jamaica’s final appellate court is an important part of the transition to be considered by the Constitutional Reform Committee.

albert.ferguson@gleanerjm.com