Jamaica is still part of the Commonwealth, but may be dropping the Queen as Head of State this week and make the island a Republic. While they are at it, they will legalize marijuana, too.
If this does go ahead, it will be on the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II on April 21.
Oh dear, not the birthday present she was expecting: Queen may be axed as Jamaica’s Head of State on 90th birthday https://t.co/CSwXwlK3b4
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) April 16, 2016
Reportedly the Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen, has announced plans to make a constitutional amendment which would in effect replace Queen Elizabeth II with a president. Allen has already put forward a plan for the constitution amendment.
Jamaica remains in the Commonwealth, despite the fact that the country declared independence back in 1962. The role of the British monarchy in local affairs was carried over in the country’s constitution when independence was gained from Great Britain.
While the role of the Queen has been largely ceremonial, this hasn’t stopped critics in the country demanding over the years that action be taken to replace the British monarchy in island affairs.
— jamaica (@jamaica) April 16, 2016
According to a report by the JamaicaGleaner, Ronald Thwaites, a senior member of the Opposition People’s National Party, said it was “high time” the ultimate step was taken.
“With all due respect to royalty, it’s high time that that piece of legislation come forward. I completely support that,” Thwaites said, after hearing the announcement.
Besides Jamaica, Queen Elizabeth II is officially the head of state in 15 countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, as well as other Caribbean nations, including Barbados and the Bahamas.
The British Monarch currently has a ceremonial role in the country but is represented on the island by the governor-general, who is appointed on the advice of the Jamaican Prime Minister.
It was at the recently opening of Parliament in Kingston that Allen made his announcement to replace the Queen with a Non-Executive President as Head of State, and the notice was posted on the government’s official website.
According to CNN, the action is rather ironic, as Allen was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, just like other Jamaican governor-generals. As his official title is “Her Majesty‘s representative in Jamaica,” this suggests that Allen wants to effectively push himself out of government, too.
The new proposal is reportedly a “major action item” on the Jamaican government’s 2016/2017 legislative agenda. Reportedly, the government is also planning to set up a single anti-corruption body and to reform the tax and pension system in the country.
Reportedly the Jamaican Labour Party leader, Andrew Holness, grabbed a narrow win in the recent general elections held in February after promising tax cuts and a higher minimum wage to replace the previous government’s austerity program.
There are also plans to improve health care, education, housing, and tourism in the island country, as well as a focus on justice, which Allen called “integral for the improvement of the general well-being and to create a prosperous society.”
The 2016/2017 legislative agenda also includes a proposal to set fixed election dates, along with term limits for the Prime Minister.
— Report UK (@ReportUK) April 15, 2016
Another proposal is to fully legalize marijuana for “specified purposes.” Reportedly, the legislation in Jamaica has already been tweaked to allow the “use of ganja by persons of the Rastafarian faith and use for medical, therapeutic, and scientific purposes.”
The legislation further states that possession of two or less ounces of ganja (the local word for marijuana) is no longer a criminal offense in Jamaica.
[Photo by John Stillwell/WPA Pool /Getty Images]