July 5

Outspoken defence of The Queen of Jamaica


Proposals by republican politicians to turn Jamaica into a politicians' republic may be as doomed as similar attempts in recent years in Australia, Tuvalu and St Vincent and the Grenadines (“Jamaican republicans seek refuge in that tedious head of state argument,” 30 June 2011).

As in Australia, Jamaicans are being lectured about the head of state by opportunist republicans. But like Australians, Jamaicans do not lie awake at night wondering who their head of state is.

Jason Green, the Chairman of the Caribbean Monarchist League, has argued the case for the Jamaican monarchy in two outstanding letters to the Jamaican press. 

We would like to congratulate him for these superb submissions.

The first, “All hail the monarchy!” was published in The Jamaican Observer on 16 May 2011. The second, “Yes to monarchy, no to republic… unless we have a plan” was published in The Jamaican Gleaner on 3 July 2011. These follow 

…All hail the monarchy… 

As I listened to the prime minister's speech in Gordon House last Tuesday, I was appalled to hear him announce that he will be replacing the monarchy by 2012.

He proposed several reasons why he thinks it is necessary to do so. However I strongly disagree with him.First of all he says that becoming a republic will complete our sovereignty.

I was under the impression that we are already a sovereign state and this sovereignty was guaranteed to us by the the Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council 1962 which came at Independence.

I still fail to see how sharing the Queen with other Commonwealth Countries compromises our sovereignty in any shape or form.

(Continued below)

The Jamaica Independence Act of 1962 clearly states that

"No Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on or after the appointed day shall extend, or be deemed to extend, to Jamaica as part of the law thereof; and as from that day the provisions of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to the legislative powers of Jamaica".

If that is not a clear indication of our total sovereignty, then what is? What we have is not a colonial government as the prime minister would have us believe, but rather a personal union where we share a head of state with other countries.

This idea is not a new one, unless of course he is suggesting that other countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand which do the same thing are not fully sovereign either.

Mr Golding also singled out the Privy Council as another reason to get rid of the monarchy. A common misconception of republicans is that the Queen and the Privy Council go hand in hand.

The PM says he wants to add more "meaning" to the 50th anniversary celebrations. Is he saying that 50 years of being a sovereign state is not a huge milestone?

Is he saying that the 50th anniversary of Independence means nothing to him simply because we have a reigning sovereign instead of a president?

And correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't 2012 the same year that our Queen will be celebrating her diamond jubilee – a celebration which we will no doubt be a part of, similar to when her golden jubilee coincided with our own 40th anniversary?

Isn't 2012 the year our athletes will return to the tracks once more to bring us more Olympic glory?

If those are not cause for celebration, then do you really think Golding's reform will bring us a reason to smile?I use this opportunity to call on all true, patriotic Jamaicans to take back their country and reject the republican model proposed by Golding.

…. Yes to monarchy, no to republic … unless we have a plan….

(Letter published in The Jamaican Gleaner, 2 July, 2011)

I was extremely pleased to see the results of a Bill Johnson poll which stated that most Jamaicans prefer to keep the monarchy in the Constitution rather than replace it with a republican system.

It shows that most Jamaicans prefer to remain loyal to Queen and country rather than to politicians.I would like to draw attention to an important issue surrounding the proposed changes, although there are some who want to send the Queen packing.

There is no consensus among these traitors what they plan to replace it with, or what kind of presidency they want. Basically, there are three kinds to choose from: the presidential, parliamentary and mixed system.

The full presidential system is used by the US, some parts of Latin America and in Africa, where all three branches of government are separate, with a president as both head of state and chief executive.

The semi-presidential (or mixed) system is employed by the French, Russians and several other nations in Eastern Europe and some Asian countries.

In this system, the president is also head of state and government, but unlike the presidential paradigm, it also has a weak prime minister who is answerable to both the president and to Parliament.

Both of these systems concentrate too much power in the hands of the president and may cause deadlock between the executive and legislative branches of government.

There are also loopholes for a president to overrule the other branches of government and establish a dictatorship. The many despotic regimes that arise from time to time in some parts of Africa and Latin America are proof of this.

….Different model…

A parliamentary system is different. Here, the president is head of state and nominal executive. A dictatorship is less likely to occur in this system, so he would more or less perform a role similar to that of the governor general.

That, of course, begs the question: Why should we bother to waste tax-payers' time and money to change the Constitution to something that is exactly the same when it will have no real impact on the life of the average Jamaican?

Another sore point to mention is the whole matter of presidential elections. Who will elect the president? The people, or Parliament? If the people should decide, how much will it cost them to do so? Why should we add presidential elections to that only to put a greater burden on an already tight Budget?

And if presidential selection should be Parliament's decision, would it really be democratic? Some would argue that the hereditary nature of the monarchy and the appointment of the governor general is undemocratic.

The difference, however, is that with the monarchy, we are not under the illusion of thinking it is more democratic, as we would be in a parliamentary republic where politicians get together to choose the president and try to pass it off as more democratic.

These proponents of republicanism are divided. They want Her Majesty removed but have no real plan as to what they actually want, and that is why I must agree with the majority of respondents in that recent Bill Johnson poll and say no to a republic.



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