Prince Harry's visit 'very important' - PM
PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller has described the visit of Prince Harry to Jamaica as "very important".
Prince Harry arrived in the country yesterday for a four-day visit. He is representing his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who is celebrating her 60th year on the British throne.
"The fact that we are celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, I think it is very important," Simpson Miller told journalists yesterday.
She noted that the Queen has visited the country on six occasions and said, "I think that Harry's coming is welcomed".
The visit of the prince comes five months before Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary as an independent nation. At her swearing-in in January, Simpson Miller said that as a grand Independence gift to the country, her Administration would move to replace the Queen as Jamaica's head of state.
Not about getting rid of the Queen
Yesterday, Simpson Miller said her comment was not a rebuke of the monarch.
"We came on a long journey, from slavery, to adult suffrage and to our Independence. Our maturity is now saying that we should look to a form of government, where at this time, we would take full charge of our destiny," the prime minister said.
She added: "It is not about getting rid of the Queen. Who can get rid of the Queen? I admire the Queen."
"I am fond of her, she is a wonderful lady, a beautiful lady. I had the pleasure on one of her visits to Jamaica to be sitting there. She was such a warm beautiful person. But, in terms of our history, we have some things to do.
The prime minister has refused to put a timeline on when her Administration would be moving to replace the Queen as head of state.
"We have to get the people of Jamaica agreeing to it, plus, the Government and the Opposition. We are nearly there in terms of Government and the Opposition," Simpson Miller said.
Caption: Prince Harry of Wales (left) arrives at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday, on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. The prince was greeted by (centre) Major General Antony Anderson, chief of defence staff, Jamaica Defence Force, among other officials. Today, the prince is scheduled to meet Usain Bolt, visit the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, have lunch with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and meet Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, among other official duties. He ends the evening with a reception and dinner at King's House. - photos by Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer