New Jamaican PM vows to drop Queen as head of state

 

Jamaica's new Prime
Minister has vowed to abandon the Queen as head of state weeks after it
was announced Prince Harry will make a Diamond Jubilee visit to the
country.

Portia Simpson Miller's pledge came as she took the oath of office and she said her administration would adopt a republican form of government.

Harry is due to visit the Caribbean country sometime this year to mark the monarch's 60-year reign - one of many foreign tours being made by the Royal Family to celebrate the milestone.

It is not thought the proposed constitutional changes to Jamaica will disrupt the trip.

Making her inaugural address yesterday 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," she then added in in Jamaican patois "But I think time come".

Jamaica celebrates its golden jubilee this year, having declared independence from Britain in 1962, but it has remained within the Commonwealth and still has the Queen as head of state.

The Prime Minister added: "This 50th anniversary year will be a time for reflection on the lessons of the past; and as we celebrate our achievements as an independent nation, we now need to complete the circle of Independence."

She added: "In this regard, we will therefore initiate the process of our detachment from the monarch to become a republic with our own indigenous president as head of state."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The issue of the Jamaican head of state is entirely a matter for the Jamaican government and people."

Harry will tour Jamaica in early March and he is almost certain to meet Mrs Simpson Miller at some point during his trip.

If the proposals by the new prime minister are formally put forward in the coming weeks the prince's visit could take on the air of both a celebration of, and a farewell to, the British monarchy's constitutional position in the country's life.

A St James's Palace spokesman said: "We are working closely with the Jamaican authorities on the itinerary for his trip in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee."

In her wide-ranging address Mrs Simpson Miller pledged to ease Jamaica's deep poverty, tackle its economic problems and stated she would "end judicial surveillance from London".

The new leader said she would replace the judicial committee of the Privy Council as her country's final court of appeal in favour of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Jamaica is one of 29 Commonwealth countries and crown dependencies which have the committee as their last judicial arbiter.

Mrs Simpson Miller, 66, scored a dramatic victory in last week's national elections to claim her second term in office.

She led her slightly left-leaning People's National Party to a 2-to-1 margin in parliament over the centre-right Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

The plainspoken, charismatic politician is Jamaica's first female prime minister, and beat the JLP's Andrew Holness who had only been prime minister for a few months.

He had called a snap general election to get a new mandate from voters after replacing Bruce Golding as party leader during the autumn.

A referendum will probably be needed if Mrs Simpson Miller's government wants to switch to the Caribbean Court of Justice as Jamaica's final court of appeal.

When a previous administration passed laws to make the same changes the judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled in 2005 that the bills passed were unconstitutional and so void, and said a national vote was needed.

A spokesman for the UK's Supreme Court said: "The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council does not lobby or encourage sovereign independent countries to join or leave its jurisdiction.

"It is entirely a matter for the individual country concerned whether it wishes to continue to use the service that the UK's most senior judges provide to countries which use the Committee as their final court of appeal."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year