Jamaican PM talks of severing ties with British monarchy as Prince Harry prepares to visit
Friday 02 March 2012
The Jamaican Prime Minister has reiterated her belief that the country should break its ties with the British monarchy.
The call comes ahead of a visit to the island by Prince Harry.
Portia Simpson Miller has been outspoken about the historical importance of the island nation ending its relationship with the British Royals, and has suggested that a referendum take place on the subject - possibly this year.
In an interview with Associated Press Ms Miller said,
"I think the fact that August coming will be 50 years since we have gained our independence that it's time for us to sever the ties,” she said, continuing,
"I really feel it is time now for Jamaica to have its own leadership fully, to take charge."
Today Prince Harry left the UK to embark on his first solo overseas trip on behalf of the Queen.
On the seven day tour to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Prince Harry will visit Belize, followed by the Bahamas and finally Jamaica.
Harry will meet Ms Simpson Miller before a state dinner hosted by Sir Patrick Allen, Jamaica's Governor-General, on Tuesday evening.
Ms Simpson Miller has said that having a Jamaican head of state, rather than the Queen, would be a monument to the slaves first brought to Jamaica.
She said: "It is important to us because it is part of a journey, a journey that started when our ancestors were dragged, sold into slavery and brought here and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Their struggles were so that we can be free men and women today".
Ms Simpson Miller, 66, was elected as prime minister in December of last year and announced her intention to push for Jamaica to sever its ties with the British Royals in her inaugural address to the nation, first praising the Queen as a ‘beautiful lady’ before saying,
“As we celebrate our achievements as an independent nation, we now need to complete the circle of independence”.
Jamaica currently has significant debt-troubles which amount to 130% of its gross domestic product, or £11.6 billion. This is around ten percentage points higher than debt-troubled Italy.
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