Kate and Will: Commentator discusses visit to Jamaica
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In addition to the UK, the Queen is currently head of state in 15 countries, following Barbados’ move to become a republic last year. But the Queen could be set for further heartbreak as it has been announced that formal plans are now underway in Jamaica to remove the Queen as its head of state.
Marlene Malahoo Forte QC, of the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, has told Jamaica’s parliament that the process of becoming a republic has started, and a Constitutional Reform Committee will be set up.
She said: “The goal is to ultimately produce a new Constitution of Jamaica, enacted by the Parliament of Jamaica, to inter alia, establish the Republic of Jamaica as a parliamentary republic, replacing the constitutional monarchy, and affirming our self-determination and cultural heritage,” according to the National.
“I am pleased to advise this honourable House that the work to achieve this goal, while being done in stages, has formally commenced.”
The process is due to be completed before the next general election is held in 2025, and it is thought a majority vote in the House and the Senate, and a referendum for the people of Jamaica, will be required to put the motion in place.
Jamaica’s quest to become a republic came to the forefront following Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the island nation earlier this year for the Platinum Jubilee.
In an awkward meeting at his official residence in Kingston, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness greeted the Duke and Duchess and informed them the nation will be “moving on”.
Kate and William visited Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and it was interpreted to be a “royal charm offensive” to encourage nations to keep the Queen as head of state.
But the Cambridges’ tour courted significant criticism, with the couple encountering widespread protests and reparation demands for the Royal Family’s historical associations with slavery.
While William expressed his “sorrow” about slavery in a speech during his visit to Jamaica, he stopped short of apologising.
In an unprecedented written statement after the tour concluded, William made clear republicanism was an issue for the people of Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas to decide upon and that he would support their decision.
He said: “Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind.
“What matters to us is the potential the Commonwealth family has to create a better future for the people who form it.”
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Where is the Queen still head of state?
In addition to the UK, the Queen is head of state in 15 countries around the world.
For the time being, the Queen remains the head of state in Jamaica, in addition to other Caribbean nations including Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The Queen is also head of state in Canada, Belize, New Zealand, Tuvalu, Australia, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
While Jamaican politicians have made clear their plans to split Jamaica from the monarchy, republican sentiment appears to be growing in other Caribbean countries too.
Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, raised the issue when Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex visited the nation earlier this year to mark the Jubilee.
Mr Browne made clear his country wanted an “open and very objective discussion” and that they wanted to explore “reparatory justice”.
He added: “We continue to have the Queen as our head of state, even though I should say we aspire at some point to become a republic.
“But that is not currently on the cards so she will remain as head of state for some time to follow. We’re not trying to embarrass you, we’re just trying to build awareness.”
The Wessexes’ planned trip to Grenada was also cancelled at short notice following discussions with the government of Grenada, and Grenada’s Reparations Commission on slavery wished to meet with the couple during their visit.
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