|Republic of Jamaica?|
|Thursday, 23 February 2012 12:36|
Jamaican minister with responsibility for Information, Sandrea Falconer, confirmed reports that the government has begun talks to transition Jamaica to republic status. If successful, Queen Elizabeth II, will no longer be the head of state of Jamaica.
The Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General's Department, who are the leading discussions, will make their recommendations to the Cabinet before talks with the opposition begin.
The new PNP administration, led by Prime Minster Portia Simpson Miller, has spearheaded the renewed efforts to bring Jamaica to a republic status. In her inaugural speech in January 2012, Simpson Miller argued that with Jamaica celebrating its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain, the nation should break ties with the Queen of England as the head of state, becoming a truly independent nation and a republic.
Under the current Jamaican Constitution, the country's Head of State is the Queen. The prime minister is formally appointed into office by the Governor-General, who represents the Queen. If Jamaica becomes a republic, the Jamaican public would have supreme control over the government and its elected leadership.
An informal survey conducted among Jamaican-Americans in South Florida by the National Weekly a month after Prime Minister Simpson Miller's announcement, revealed that 74 percent of those surveyed supported Jamaica becoming a republic. Twelve percent were against it and 14 percent were uncertain.
CCJ to take supreme
Meanwhile, the same ministerial committee will also direct discussions on whether the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will become Jamaica's supreme court of law. The Justice Ministry and the Attorney General's Department are also playing lead roles in these discussions. "It was advised that the two matters (republic status and CCJ) are to be kept separate," Falconer stated.
Simpson Miller also supported the new efforts to establish the CCJ as the final court of appeal for Jamaica, to "end judicial surveillance from London."
The CCJ was established on February 14, 2001, as a regional judicial entity for member states of the Caribbean Community. The CCJ was designed as a hybrid institution – a final court of appeal and an international court with the jurisdiction for the interpretation and application of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
While Jamaica is a signatory to the establishment of the CCJ, it does not yet use the court, as local cases are still referred to the Privy Council.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2012 15:02|