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Jamaica: negotiations begin
Jamaica's new government appears to be on track so far to meet its goal of transitioning to a Parliamentary republic by Jamaica's 50th independence anniversary. A Ministerial Committee has been formed to begin the process of making the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the country's highest court of appeal, and make recommendations to Jamaica's cabinet.
Once those recommendations are made, the government states negotiations will begin with Jamaica's opposition. This is presumably because Jamaica's constitution requires a two-thirds majority of parliament to be amended, hence the government needs the support of the opposition to pass any republican amendments. However, it doesn't seem this will be an issue as previous Jamaica Labour Party Prime Ministers have expressed support for a Jamaican republic.
Meanwhile, The Carib Journal interviews the Jamaican Minister of Foreign Affairs, who states clearly Jamaica is to remain a member of the Commonwealth:
Prime Minister Simpson Miller said soon after taking office that the government intended to withdraw from the Crown and become a republic. Was that part of the discussions with the UK at the forum?
No, we did not discuss it at this meeting because, in truth, it is not really an issue for this meeting. To move from the monarchical system to becoming a republic is really Jamaica’s issue, just like how Trinidad and Tobago did it very early on. What I’d like to project is that that issue really doesn’t mean we are moving away from the Commonwealth – certainly not! The Commonwealth nations are our brothers and sisters. What we are saying is if we have our own indigenous head of state, that is something that we can galvanize our forces around in this 50th year of our independence. Since we have traveled a certain route in the past 50 years, we want to try something new. And it’s kind of awkward to have a head of state in a country in which you need a visa to go to that country! So it’s a bit awkward. But these are subsidiary reasons. The real reason is that you need issues in this 50th year of our independence to galvanize around moving forward.