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We need to involve the people - Pryce ...Gov't MP calls for much more Jamaican-influenced rituals

Published:Friday | February 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMDaraine Luton

Three years after Raymond Pryce brought a motion to the House of Representatives calling for the Throne Speech to be renamed, the symbol of the British empire still stands like a man in the halls of Parliament.

Yesterday, at the start of the 2015-2016 legislative year, it was the governor general, representing Queen Elizabeth II, who told Jamaicans, by way of the Throne Speech, what are the plans of the Government for the year ahead.

"I also notice that the prayer that called the session together, not only included a prayer for the Lady sovereign Queen, but her husband, her son and her family. I would one day be so happy to hear in the prayer, instead of the references to the monarchy, and the monarch's family, reference to the Jamaican family," Pryce told The Gleaner yesterday.

Parliament had approved Pryce's motion for the renaming of the Throne Speech, but Phillip Paulwell, the leader of government business in the House of Representatives, said it would be delayed until other matters of sovereignty such as the replacement of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) are dealt with.

Three bills seeking to have the CCJ become Jamaica's final court of appeal are now before the House awaiting a vote. The Government has the necessary two-thirds majority in the House, but needs to sway at least one opposition senator to secure its passage. The Opposition, however, has said it will not be supporting the bills.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller yesterday said "it would be on the head of the Opposition who would prefer that if a poor person in Jamaica have a case and it is referred to the Privy Council ... how they get the money to pay the lawyer to go to defend their cause or whether we accept the CCJ, that would come to Jamaica like they did with the Shanique Myrie case."

Meanwhile, with the gallery of the Houses of Parliament half-empty for yesterday's opening of Parliament, Pryce said it was something to be questioned and argued that it is time to reinvigorate the relevance of the political process to the lives of Jamaicans.

"It seems as if the prominence that this morning's activities had over the past several years is waning, and my simple suggestion is that it has something to do with the fact that it does not centralise the Jamaican people as much as it ought to," Pryce said.