Jamaican PM says they are going full steam ahead towards republicanism
The Jamaican prime minister has reiterated his intention to move with "speed" towards republicanism and removing King Charles as its head of state.
According to local media, Andrew Holness made the comments during a reception in St. James at the weekend after reports that plans to make Jamaica a republic had stalled following delays deciding who will be on the its Constitutional Reform Committee - the body that will oversee the transition.
"It is time that Jamaica becomes a republic. For us, the process is not simple, and we have known this from we started on this journey, and we are making sure that we check every box as we move deliberately in that regard", Holness said, before he went on to directly address the minister for Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte.
"So I'm saying to you minister, please move ahead with speed and alacrity on this matter. Jamaica must become a Republic".
The Jamaican government announced in June 2022 that they intended to pursue becoming a republic by 2025, and Holness' recent comments reiterate that this is a clear priority for his leadership. Holness also told Kate and William during their tour of the Caribbean in March last year that the country was "moving on" from its relationship with the UK.
Jamaica became independent from the UK in 1962, but the British monarch remains its head of state.
The BBC reported in September that over half of Jamaican's support becoming a republic and the movement has been steadily growing in momentum for many decades.
In 2003, Jamaicans lost their visa-free access to the UK, and now they are the "only citizens within the Commonwealth realm that require a visa to visit the land of their Head of State", noted Ashley Rouen Brown for The Tribune last year. However, Brits can visit Jamaica for up to 90 days without one.
The sense then amongst some is that the relationship between the two countries remains an unequal one.
Barbados officially removed the late Queen Elizabeth as their head of state in 2021, a ceremony which Charles attended as a representative of the crown when he was still Prince of Wales.
Prince William has shown some acceptance of this general trend away from the monarchy, saying after his tour of the Caribbean last spring — which was widely seen as a PR disaster — that their future was their own to decide, and that he was "committed to service [...] not telling people what to do".
Holness' recent reiteration of republican sentiment also comes as debate about the Royal Family's role in colonialism has renewed after Prince Harry made comments in his new memoir, Spare about imperialism being "theft".
"Imperialism, colonialism, nationalism – in short, theft. Great Britain was trespassing, invading a sovereign nation and trying to steal it, meaning the precious blood of Britain’s finest lads had been wasted", Harry wrote in one section regarding the British invasion of the Zulu Kingdom.
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