Queen 'is more popular now than in years before' says Francis
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Marlene Malahoo Forte QC, who leads the country’s Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, told the Kingston parliament the process would be completed in “stages” before the next election in 2025. The separation process will involve several steps including a vote in the House and Senate of the Jamaican parliament and a referendum by the people.
Ms Malahoo Forte 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.
“I am pleased to advise this honourable House that the work to achieve this goal, while being done in stages, has formally commenced.”
Pointing to the recent transition of Barbados to a republic, the constitution minister said the world was waiting to see which Caribbean nation will make a move next.
Ms Malahoo Forte said a Constitutional Reform Committee would be established which will include members of the opposition.
She added: “The reform work to be done in order to achieve the goal of a new constitution requires cooperation between the government and the parliamentary opposition, as well as the seal of the people.”
The decision to become a republic came after Prince William and Kate’s bumper royal tour of the Caribbean which saw slavery rows and anti-monarchy protests erupt on every island visited by the couple.
The trip, aimed at being a charm offensive to prevent other nations following Barbados in leaving the commonwealth, saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embroiled in a PR disaster.
Upon arrival in Belize, one of the couple’s first visits was called off after protests formed over a land dispute involving a charity the Queen’s grandson us a patron of.
On their next stop in Jamaica, the Prime Minister left the couple floundering as he announced the country would be “moving on” to become a republic.
Lastly in the Bahamas, the royals were urged to make an “full and formal apology” for slavery.
Following the tour, the couple issued a statement reflecting on the trip, saying royal foreign tours were an “opportunity to reflect”.
He added: “You learn so much.
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“What is on the minds of prime ministers. The hopes and ambitions of school children.
“The day-to-day challenges faced by families and communities.”
The statement also comes after a 2020 poll published in the Jamaica Observer found more than half of those surveyed would vote to remove the Queen as the country’s head of state.
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