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LETTER OF THE DAY - Put republic move to referendum

Published:Monday | June 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is with interest and concern that I observe the current administration's renewed push to make Jamaica a republic. While I agree in principle with us severing ties with the British monarchy, the approach being taken by both political parties in Parliament is rather uninspiring and worrying.

The People's National Party (PNP) has effectively taken a 'We know what is right for you approach' by announcing that it WILL be making the republican switch and this WILL be done in the near future. There has been no known consultation with us the people and no attempt to begin an education programme for the masses. This leads me to wonder if the party is intent on carry through the process whether or not the people agree.

And the public must know whether the republican system will be in the best interests of the common man or will seek to further entrench and strengthen the powers of Government and limit the rights of the population.

How will it work?

In simple language, what type of republic does the present Government wish to see implemented in Jamaica, and how will it work?

The Jamaica Labour Party has avoided the topic like leprosy. To date, there has been no public discussion, no presented stance, and no policy direction from the Opposition. Does this mean it is divided, unsure, or waiting on the electorate to indicate their position so they can side with the popular view? For an administration that was in power only a few months ago, I find it unacceptable that there is no clear policy on this most important issue.

I do not agree that we need to put this discussion on hold until the economy is fixed or that it is a distraction being used by the ruling PNP. As a country, we must be able to whistle and ride.

I believe Jamaica, as an independent nation, needs to finally and permanently remove its allegiance to the British monarchy. The benefits of such an arrangement have outlived its useful life. We need a visa to visit England.

REASONS FOR A REFERENDUM

Just like federation, I believe we need a referendum to determine:

1. If the people would like Jamaica to become a republic.

2. If yes, what type of republic they would like to see.

3. Whether our final court should be the Caribbean Court of Justice or the Jamaican Court of Appeal.

Can we, if moving forward to true independence, start the process with the most democratic act (a referendum) and approach this event with a sense of patriotism, not partisan interest?

We must implement a system of accountability, transparency, and fairness which promotes justice, equality, participation and protection for ALL Jamaicans.

RICHARD SMITH