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JA edging to republic

Regional 30 Mar, 2023 Follow News

Andrew Holness is moving JA to be a republic

Jamaica has a strong anti-monarchy feeling

Jamaica’s plans to remove King Charles as its head of state is gaining momentum as it moves closer to becoming a republic.

As Charles looks ahead to his coronation in May, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness insists that “ambitious timelines” are in place to move towards the “road to republic”.

In a video shared by Holness, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Jamaica’s minister of legal and constitutional affairs, set out plans to “constitutional reform work” that would “craft a new modern constitution”.

She said: “The goal is not simply to swap a foreign monarch – the king of England – for a local president. We hope to use the opportunity to facilitate a reset of the nation.”

Holness added on Twitter: “The goal is to ultimately produce a new Constitution of Jamaica, establishing the Republic of Jamaica and affirming our self-determination and cultural heritage.”

Last June year – three months before the Queen died – the Jamaican government announced that they intended to pursue becoming a republic by 2025.

The plan was bolstered two months ago when Holness maintained that it was a clear priority for his leadership to move with “speed” towards removing Charles as head of state.

Holness has revealed more about his plans, with a referendum believed to form the initial stages of the process.

In the Jamaica Observer he said: “There may be the view that it is a straightforward and simple task of just changing the name of the country from that of a constitutional monarchy to a republic – that is not the case.

“There are many legal steps that we have to go through and there is the matter of a referendum, the outcome of which no one can predict.”

Charles’s recent Commonwealth Day speech was keenly listened by Jamaicans, who have increasingly debated the British monarch’s position as Commonwealth head in recent years. Breaking with tradition, he delivered his address in person at Westminster Abbey, with a focus on climate change and the importance of free and democratic societies.

Commonwealth countries span the globe and, with a combined population of 2.5 billion, include almost a third of the world’s population. The coronation comes at a critical time for the monarchy. Fourteen Commonwealth countries still have the British sovereign as their head of state, but times are changing.

In 2021, Barbados became the latest Commonwealth country to drop the monarchy and become a republic. The coronation is an important moment for Charles to show the Commonwealth and the world that his reign will be modern, more efficient and more sensitive to the legacy of British imperialism.

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