PM affirms commitment to republic status for Jamaica

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is assuring citizens that the Government is committed to pursuing Jamaica’s transition to a Republic in keeping with the wishes of the people.  

He noted that members of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) have done a lot of work to garner the views of citizens across the island, and opinion polls have repeatedly shown that most Jamaicans want a Republic form of Government. 

The Prime Minister said he has advised the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte and members of the CRC to work for consensus with the Opposition, so that there can be a successful conclusion of the process. 

“We have undertaken a major national effort to reform our Constitution and to move towards a Republic. The status now, is that we do not have consensus with the Opposition, but I do not see that as a failure or an end to the process. I see it as part of the process,” he said. 

“I want to reassure the people of Jamaica, especially those persons who would want to see Jamaica become a Republic in their lifetime, that all is not lost, that the Government is still going to pursue it to its logical conclusion.”

The Prime Minister’s comments follow the decision of the Opposition representatives on the CRC, to not sign off on the Committee’s report until concerns raised about the reform process are resolved. 

Holness said avenues of communication must be opened with the Opposition, as agreement is critical in securing the two-thirds majority votes needed in both Houses of Parliament for the reform of the Constitution. 

In addition, he noted that for the referendum for Jamaica to become a republic to be successful, both parties “would have to go to the people as one.” 

In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs will launch a public education campaign to inform the public about the Committee’s recommendations. 

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