London, United Kingdom – June 16, 2007: Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II attends the Trooping the Colour ceremony. (Shutterstock)
By Stephanie Korney, Jamaicans.com
Jamaica’s Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marline Malahoo Forte, announced in a speech to the House of Representatives on June 7, 2022, that the government plans to make the nation a republic by the 2025 General Election. This means the government will remove the British Queen Elizabeth II as Jamaica’s head of state.
During a courtesy call from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who were visiting Jamaica in March of 2022, Prime Minister Andrew Holness officially announced that Jamaica will move on from its colonial past and would sever ties with the British monarchy in the near future.
Addressing the House, Malahoo Forte said that the continuing symbolic presence of the Queen in Jamaica’s constitutional make-up has been a topic of reform for some time. She added that since Barbados severed ties with the British Crown in 2021 and established itself as a republic, plus the announcement by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness that his government intends to move from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, there is an increased focus on the rest of the Caribbean to see which nations will take similar action. Both major political parties in the Jamaican Parliament support the transition to a republic.
Malahoo Forte noted that she has been examining the attitude of Jamaica to a referendum as this appears to be part of the plan and will be in place by the time of the next election, barring the rise of more pressing matters before 2025. The work required for reforming Jamaica’s Constitution has “formally” begun, she added.
The Jamaica Information Service reported that a Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) that will include representatives from the government, parliamentary opposition, relevant experts, and the wider public will be appointed to ensure a smooth transition for the country from constitutional monarchy to republic status. Several Caribbean nations removed the British Queen as their head of state in the 1970s, including Guyana, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago. It is expected that, after Jamaica’s announced intention, the Bahamas and Belize may soon follow and move to become republics as well.