by Anthony Lewis
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte says an announcement is expected by the end of the second quarter next year in relation to Jamaica’s way forward to becoming a republic.
“A document is currently being prepared for the prime minister and I do believe that, in due course, perhaps early in the new year [an announcement will be made],” said the attorney general.”When we go into January the time is going to be taken up with the budget process to come and then, by the time the budget debate and the sectoral debate are over, something concrete will be announced by then,” she said.
Last week Monday at midnight, Jamaica’s fellow Caribbean island Barbados became the world’s newest republic by removing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Besides, the country also inaugurated a president during a ceremony that coincided with its 55th year of Independence.
While former Jamaican prime ministers have given a commitment to start the process for the past four decades, nothing substantial has happened. However, following Barbados’s move, calls became louder by Jamaicans, including former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, who wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding, beseeching them to ensure that Jamaica is a republic by the time the country observes 60 years of Independence in 2022.
Malahoo Forte told the Jamaica Observer, following a graduation for 300 students of the Montego Bay Community College in St James on Sunday, that Holness has already given instructions for the constitution to be amended.