THE future of the monarchy in the Commonwealth was thrown into doubt yesterday as Jamaica’s new prime minister vowed to abandon the Queen as head of state, Richard Palmer and Jane Mathews write in London’s Express.
Royal commentators described the timing of the announcement, which comes in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and just weeks after it was announced Prince Harry will visit the country, as “singularly rude”.
Portia Simpson Miller, while taking the oath of office, pledged that her administration would adopt a republican form of government.
Harry is due to visit the Caribbean country in early March to mark the monarch’s 60-year reign. The Queen’s most recent royal visit was in 2002.
Making her inaugural address at the governor-general’s official residence in the capital Kingston, the prime minister said: “I love the Queen. She is a beautiful lady and, apart from being a beautiful lady, a wise lady and a wonderful lady,” before adding in patois: “But I think time come.”
|She then told the crowd: “I have long believed if we are to have a Queen it must be a Jamaican Queen.” Portia Simpson Miller pledged that her administration would adopt a republican form of government|
Royal commentator Hugo Vickers said: “It seems to me a singularly rude gesture to make during the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen. She could jolly well have waited.
“No doubt, like a lot of politicians, she wanted to make her mark and knew that by saying this she’d get some attention when nobody otherwise would have been interested in a new Jamaican prime minister.”
He said the Queen had heard many prime ministers make similar declarations, adding: “The Queen won’t be too concerned as long as Jamaica stays in the Commonwealth. That’s what she’s really concerned about.”
Another royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said: “I am sure Prince Harry’s visit there this year will be as enthusiastically received as ever and Jamaica will remain part of the Commonwealth. It’s not clear by what mechanism it’s intended that a republic will be achieved. If she does it through parliament, where she has a big majority, that’s one thing but if it has to be done through a referendum, she might find it’s not so simple.”
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Miller, who is the island’s first female prime minister, said that the government and opposition wanted to make the change before it celebrates its 50th anniversary on August 6 of independence from Britain.
A referendum will probably be needed if Mrs Simpson Miller’s government wants to switch from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to the Caribbean Court of Justice as Jamaica’s final court of appeal.
A spokesman for the UK’s Supreme Court said: “It is entirely a matter for the individual country whether it wishes to continue to use the service that the ^ most senior judges provide to countries which use the Committee as their final court of appeal.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The issue of the Jamaican head of state is entirely a matter for the Jamaican government and people.”
For the original report go to http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/294061/Jamaican-PM-vows-to-drop-the-Queen-as-head-of-state