Wed | Aug 16, 2017

End Monarchy now with referendum - Williams

Published:Friday | November 20, 2015 | 11:00 AMEdmond Campbell

Attorney-at-law Arthur Williams is proposing that the Government hold a referendum to end the monarchy and ask Jamaicans to pronounce on three options in determining the country's final court of appeal.

In his contribution yesterday to the debate on three bills to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) Jamaica's final court of appeal, Williams said the time has come and long passed for Jamaica to remove the British monarch as its head of state.

The opposition senator, who many believe might vote with government senators to pass the CCJ bills, said he had given the matter of Jamaica's status as a nation and its final court mature deliberation.

Williams said he was firmly of the view that the country's focus as a nation should be on moving to make the country a republic.

"I am firmly of the view that the proper way to proceed is to hold the referendum that is required to end the monarchy, and in that same referendum, ask the people to decide on what they would wish their judicial system to be," he stated.

The choices articulated by Williams for a final court are a two-tiered system with Jamaica's present Court of Appeal as the final court, or whether to accede to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ or whether to establish a Jamaican third-tier final appellate court.

"Those questions in a referendum would be giving the people of Jamaica the say in what kind of judicial system they desire and would not, I submit, lead to the contentious and acrimonious debate which some envisage, if it is merely a choice between the CCJ and the Privy Council - a matter on which we have been divided for so long," he reasoned.

 

TACKLING BOTH ISSUES

 

The opposition senator argued that if the country moves forward with the referendum that is required to remove the monarchy system, it could immediately remove the Privy Council from its judicial arrangements.

"So, if we proceed differently, in short order, both monarchy and Privy Council can be removed."

He urged the Government to abandon the current approach to pass the three bills by two-thirds majority, a method, he claims, is fraught with difficulty because of the divided views on the issue.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com