Sat | Sep 19, 2020

God dump the Queen - Jamaicans ruled by monarch like Jews under a Hitler, says lobbyist

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 12:18 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
In this Tuesday, November 26, 2019, photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic society in London. The retention of the Queen as head of state in Jamaica has been a historically controversial issue.
In this Tuesday, November 26, 2019, photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II visits the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic society in London. The retention of the Queen as head of state in Jamaica has been a historically controversial issue.
Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados.
Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados.
Andrew Holness, pirme minister of Jamaica.
Andrew Holness, pirme minister of Jamaica.
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Anti-colonial campaigner Bert Samuels believes that Jamaica should follow in the footsteps of Barbados in dumping the Queen of England as head of state.

Samuels, a reparation lobbyist, said that the retention of the monarchy in Jamaica’s constitutional arrangement is an affront to the spirit of national independence granted 58 years ago.

“It is more than time for our people to experience true independence with the decolonisation of our Constitution, the justice system, and also to remove those whose predecessors enslaved us from the pinnacle of our constitutional arrangement,” said Samuels.

“There is no way that a Jewish state would tolerate a descendant of Adolf Hitler being at the apex of its constitutional arrangement.”

The Mia Mottley government declared on Tuesday that it plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state next year, marking the first time in nearly three decades since a Commonwealth country dropped the monarch.

Barbados Governor General Dame Sandra Mason made the announcement in a Throne speech, revealing that the Caribbean nation would move “toward full sovereignty and become a republic” by November 30, 2021, on the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from the British empire.

Jamaican prime ministers, including Portia Simpson Miller, Bruce Golding, and the current holder, Andrew Holness, have all talked tough on severing the Crown as head of state but done little beyond the microphone.

Samuels, an attorney-at-law, said that he is pained to hear courts commencing daily with the “absurd” shouting by the police of “God save the Queen”.

He said, however, that he does not support a referendum on the issue.

“What I support is its abolition. You hold a referendum on something that you believe may have strong support. We don’t need that. We do not need any vote on this issue. It is abhorrent,” Samuels stated.

Holness, upon assuming office in 2016, included a proposal to make the island a republic in the 2016-2017 legislative agenda.

“Jamaicans have embraced the Queen and embraced our legacy in terms of the laws and the system of governance we have, but the deep, burning desire we have for full independence still exists,” he said then.

Samuels threw new bait to the Holness administration to follow conservative Barbados, often called ‘Little England’ because of its Anglophile pride, in setting a timeline for the abolishment of the monarchy.

He praised Barbados as having “a leader who is educated, bold, and forthright on this issue”.

“We certainly hope our leaders can be as forthright,” said the attorney.

Samuels said that he has been moved by his “own spirit of dignity” to twice write to the chief justice requesting the abolishment of the utterance ‘God save the Queen’ in the courts.

Trinidad and Tobago, which celebrated its independence on August 31, 1962, weeks after Jamaica’s, dropped the Queen as head of state to become a republic in 1976. Guyana also became a republic in 1970.

Mauritius is the last Commonwealth country to have done away with the Queen as head of state. It did so in 1992.

President of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Steven Golding, agrees that Jamaica needs to “Brexit the monarchy”.

“It is my hope and prayer that if we are not fully there yet, we are well on our way. With what we are seeing in Barbados, I don’t think we will escape going to another general election without this issue coming more to the forefront.

“It is our tax money that we continue paying for the upkeep of King’s House, where they can go and arrest a Jamaican for picking a few ackees off a tree,” Golding said of the seat of the governor general, representative of the Queen.

The UNIA president’s father failed to get traction despite expressing a desire to cut ties with the monarchy before Jamaica’s 50th anniversary in 2012.

“I have long believed that if I am to have a queen, it must be a Jamaican queen. I would not wish to see us celebrate 50 years of Independence without completing that part of our ‘sovereignisation’, for want of a better word,” Bruce Golding told legislators in a parliamentary address.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com