Tue | Nov 28, 2023

Naming of Constitutional Reform Committee to go to Vale Royal Talks

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2023 | 5:37 PM
Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte speaking in the House of Representatives on February 7, 2023. Kenyon Hemans photo.

The Government is to delay the naming of the Constitutional Reform Committee that will, among other things, lead the process for Jamaica to abolish the constitutional monarchy and establish a republic, as it moves to hold discussions with the parliamentary Opposition at the Vale Royal Talks.

The Vale Royal Talks is a mechanism to facilitate dialogue between the Government and the Opposition.

This was disclosed this afternoon by Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte in the House of Representatives in a statement.

Malahoo Forte said it is hoped that the talks will be concluded by this month and for the process to proceed thereafter.

The Government and the Opposition have been at odds on the naming of the committee with the latter declining to name two members to sit on the body until it is provided with critical information on far-reaching changes to the Constitution.

Malahoo Forte reiterated that the Government's intention is to strengthen Jamaica's constitutional regime.

On the matter of moving to a republic, she stated that it remains the goal of the administration to hold a referendum.

Again, opposition leader Mark Golding raised the point that the government is yet to indicate the specific changes it plans to make to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

Citing concerns, he said the opposition cannot proceed until it is properly informed.

Malahoo Forte said the Government is not yet at the stage to provide the details being sought by Golding.

But, she stated that full disclosure will be made.

The committee should comprise representatives of the bicameral legislature from the Government and Opposition, the attorney general, the solicitor general, and constitutional law experts, among others.

It is to advise on a process of overhaul 60 years after Independence, including the transition to republicanism.

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