Opposition Leader Mark Golding has described as “unacceptable”, the “lethargic” pace of the Andrew Holness-led government in removing the Queen as Head of State, and transitioning into a Parliamentary Republic.
“If the prime minister is really serious about Jamaica becoming a republic, it’s totally unacceptable that some six months after telling a member of the Royal family on public TV we’re moving on, there has been no movement towards moving on,” suggested Golding.
He was speaking on the weekend at a meeting of the People’s National Party (PNP) National Executive Committee in St Andrew.
In June, Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, had told Parliament that the country wound transition from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Parliamentary Republic by the next general election, which is constitutionally due in 2025.
While indicating then that a new Constitution of Jamaica will have to be produced as part of that goal, Malahoo Forte said the work to achieve the transition to a republic is being done in stages and had formally commenced.
However, weeks later, Golding is adamant that the process has not begun.
He opined that this should have not been the case, given the fact that work had already been done in the past, to guide Jamaica’s transition to a republic.
“It is not the case that we don’t know where we are going, and that the ideas have not been fleshed out. “The ideas as to how we are to achieve this, certainly in the short term, have been fully ventilated in a process that took two decades, which led to consensus around how it should be done,” Golding asserted.
According to him, the necessary Bill to remove the Queen as head of State must be brought to Parliament, so the debate on it can commence by legislators.
Meanwhile, the PNP president also lambasted the government over its delay relative to making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica’s final appellate court, instead of the United Kingdom’s Privy Council.
Golding noted that Jamaica was integral in the creation of the CCJ, pointing out that the island also financed the establishment of that judiciary body.
“We should be using the court, which is an excellent court, staffed with top-rate[d] judges,” Golding said, adding that the court “is being increasingly recognised around the world for the quality of its jurisprudence”.