'Severing ties with the UK will not impact relations'

Published: Thursday | August 16, 2012 Comments 0

A SENIOR United Kingdom Cabinet minister has said Jamaica's plans to sever ties with the British monarchy should not affect the friendly relations between the David Cameron administration and the Portia Simpson Miller-led Government.

Kenneth Clarke, secretary of state for justice in the United Kingdom, told The Gleaner recently that the proposed move by the Jamaican Government would have no impact at all on the long-standing relationship between the two countries.

However, Clarke, who led a British delegation to the island last week to represent the UK Government during celebrations to mark Jamaica's 50th year of Independence, held close to his chest his own position on whether Jamaica should change its head of state.

"It is for the Jamaican politicians and the Jamaican public to determine who they want as their head of state and what form of head of state they want - whether they want a monarchy or whether they want a republic," Clarke said.

Late last month, Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding said the Government was far advanced with plans to replace The Queen as the country's head of state.

Senator Golding told The Gleaner that he expected a draft bill, aimed at creating the framework for making Jamaica a republic, to be ready for tabling in the House of Representatives in September.

In her inaugural address to the nation earlier this year, after her landslide victory at the polls in late December 2011, Simpson Miller said her administration would initiate the process "for our detachment from the monarchy to become a republic with our own indigenous president as head of state".

She later pointed out that despite the move to replace The Queen as head of state, Jamaica would always hold the British Monarchy in high esteem.

Simpson Miller had argued that within the monarchical system, there were many areas for emulation as Jamaica pursued a path for sustainable development.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com

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