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Republicanism in Jamaica is a position which advocates that Jamaica's system of government be changed from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. Both major political parties – the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party – subscribe to the position, and the current Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, has announced that transitioning to a republic will be a priority of his government.
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola.
A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework. Constitutional monarchies range from countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain, where the constitution grants substantial discretionary powers to the sovereign, to countries such as Japan and Sweden where the monarch retains no formal authorities.
A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers. The primary positions of power within a republic are not inherited, but are attained through democracy, oligarchy or autocracy. It is a form of government under which the head of state is not a hereditary monarch.
In the lead-up to Jamaican independence in 1962, the Parliament of Jamaica established a cross-party joint select committee to prepare a new constitution. The committee received several submissions calling for Jamaica to become a republic, which it "heard politely, but rejected unceremoniously". The People's Freedom Movement, an extra-parliamentary opposition party, suggested that the constitution include a provision for a referendum on a republic at a later date, but this was not carried out.Both major party leaders in Jamaica in the lead-up to independence (the JLP's Alexander Bustamante and the PNP's Norman Manley) were opposed to Jamaica becoming a republic. Law professor Stephen Vasciannie has suggested that the decision to retain the monarchy at independence was due to several factors, including a desire for continuity and stability, a desire to demonstrate the maturity required for independence, the popularity of the Royal Family amongst Jamaicans, and tendencies towards Anglophilia among the political elites.
The Parliament of Jamaica is the legislative branch of the government of Jamaica. It consists of three elements: the Crown, the appointed Senate and the directly elected House of Representatives.
A joint committee is a committee made up of members of both chambers of a bicameral legislature. In other contexts, it refers to a committee with members from more than one organization.
A select committee is a committee made up of a small number of parliamentary members appointed to deal with particular areas or issues originating in the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Select committees exist in the British Parliament, as well as in other parliaments based on the Westminster model, such as those in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India and New Zealand.
The first Jamaican prime minister to make steps towards a republic was Michael Manley, whose People's National Party (PNP) came to power at the 1972 general election. His government established a commission into constitutional reform in 1975, and in July 1977, following a march to commemorate the Morant Bay rebellion, Manley announced that Jamaica would become a republic by 1981. However, his government was defeated at the 1980 general election by the more conservative Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), led by Edward Seaga. Seaga was also a republican, having expressed a preference for a "ceremonial presidency" in 1977. Despite this, no concrete moves towards a republic occurred during his premiership.
Michael Norman Manley ON OCC was a Jamaican politician who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992. Coming from a prosperous background, Manley was a democratic socialist. According to opinion polls, he remains one of Jamaica's most popular prime ministers.
The People's National Party (PNP) is a social-democratic political party in Jamaica, founded in 1938 by activist Osmond Theodore Fairclough. It holds 30 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as a majority of local government bodies, with 151 of the 228 divisions. The party is democratic socialist by constitution.
The Morant Bay rebellion began with a protest march to the courthouse by hundreds of people led by preacher Paul Bogle in Morant Bay, Jamaica. Some were armed with sticks and stones. After seven men were shot and killed by the volunteer militia, the protesters attacked and burned the court house and nearby buildings. A total of 25 people died. Over the next two days, peasants rose up across St. Thomas-in-the-East parish and controlled most of the area.
In 2002, the PNP government led by P. J. Patterson abolished the requirement for public servants to take an oath of allegiance to the monarch. At a PNP party conference in September 2003, Patterson expressed his hopes that Jamaica would become a republic by 2007, stating that "the time has come when we must have a head of state chosen by us" and "the majority of people in Jamaica are ready to consign to history the last vestiges of colonialism".However, his government's attempts to transition to a republic were stifled by its simultaneous attempts to abolish the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final court of appeal in Jamaica and replace it with Caribbean Court of Justice. The opposition JLP were against that decision (which would also have required a constitutional amendment), and made their support for republicanism conditional on a referendum being held for the judicial changes, which was not forthcoming.
Percival Noel James Patterson, ON, PC, QC, is a Jamaican former politician who served as the sixth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1992 to 2006. He was the leader of the People's National Party from 1992 to 2006, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Westmoreland South Eastern from 1970 to 1980 and again from 1989 to 1993. Following a constituency reorganization, he served as the MP for Westmoreland Eastern from 1993 to 2006. He retired from all of these positions in March 2006. He was married to Shirley Field-Ridley with whom he had two children, Richard and Sharon.
An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country. In republics, modern oaths specify allegiance to the country in general, or to the country's constitution. For example, officials in the United States, a republic, take an oath of office that includes swearing allegiance to the United States Constitution. However, in a constitutional monarchy, such as in the United Kingdom, Australia and other Commonwealth realms, oaths are sworn to the monarch. Armed forces typically require a military oath.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories and Commonwealth countries. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Council, the Privy Council formerly acted as the court of last resort for the entire British Empire, and continues to act as the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth nations, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories.
The PNP government was defeated at the 2007 general election. The new prime minister, JLP leader Bruce Golding, promised that his government would "amend the Constitution to replace the Queen with a Jamaican president who symbolises the unity of the nation", but the JLP's term in government came to an end at the 2011 general election without any formal steps towards a republic having been taken.Portia Simpson-Miller, the PNP leader and new prime minister, also publicly affirmed her government's commitment to republicanism, stating a preference for an elected president. However, the PNP lost power at the 2016 general election without bringing about constitutional change. Andrew Holness, Simpson-Miller's successor as prime minister, also affirmed a commitment to republicanism upon taking office, and stated his government would introduce a bill to replace the Queen with "a non-executive president as head of state".
Orette Bruce Golding is a former Jamaican politician who served as eighth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 11 September 2007 to 23 October 2011. He is a member of the Jamaica Labour Party which he led from 2005 to his resignation in 2011.
Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller,, is a Jamaican politician. She served as Prime Minister of Jamaica from March 2006 to September 2007 and again from 5 January 2012 to 3 March 2016. She was the leader of the People's National Party from 2006 to 2017 and the Leader of the Opposition twice, from 2007 to 2012 and from 2016 to 2017.
Andrew Michael Holness, ON, MP is a Jamaican politician who has been the Prime Minister of Jamaica since 3 March 2016, following the 25 February 2016 general election. Holness previously served as Prime Minister from October 2011 to January 5, 2012. He succeeded Bruce Golding as Prime Minister, and decided to go to the polls in the 29 December 2011 general election in an attempt to get his own mandate from the Jamaican electorate. He failed in that bid, however, losing badly to the People's National Party led by Portia Simpson-Miller, with the PNP gaining 42 seats to the Jamaica Labour Party's 21. Following that defeat, Holness served as Leader of the Opposition from January 2012 to March 2016, when he once again assumed the position of Prime Minister.
All amendments to the Constitution of Jamaica must be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, certain sections of the constitution, including those pertaining to the monarchy, can only be amended if they are also submitted to a referendum.
The Constitution of Jamaica is the constitution and highest law of Jamaica.
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.
It has been suggested that Jamaica should have a uniquely Jamaican monarch, who would reside permanently in Jamaica, and who would not be in a personal union with the monarch of the United Kingdom. It has been claimed that this would be a suitable compromise between monarchists and republicans. This proposal, however, does not have mainstream political support.
Republicanism in Australia is a movement to change Australia's system of government from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. Republicanism was first espoused in Australia before Federation in 1901. After a period of decline after Federation, the movement again became prominent at the end of the 20th century after successive legal and socio-cultural changes loosened Australia's ties with the United Kingdom.
Republicanism in the United Kingdom is the political movement that seeks to replace the United Kingdom's monarchy with a republic. For those who want a non-hereditary head of state, the method by which one should be chosen is not agreed upon, with some favouring an elected president, some an appointed head of state with little power. Others support something akin to the Swiss model, with a directorate functioning as a collective head of state.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica is Jamaica's head of government, currently Andrew Holness. Holness, as leader of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), was sworn in as Prime Minister on 3 March 2016, succeeding People's National Party (PNP) leader Portia Simpson-Miller. This was a result of the JLP's victory in Jamaica's 25 February 2016 general election.
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is one of the two major political parties in Jamaica, the other being the People's National Party (PNP). While its name might suggest that it is a social democratic party, the JLP is actually a conservative party. However, it has longstanding ties to the Jamaican labour movement.
Edward Philip George SeagaON, PC was a Jamaican politician. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.
Canadian republicanism is a movement among Canadians for the replacement of the Canadian system of federal constitutional monarchy with a republican form of government. These beliefs are expressed either individually—usually in academic circles—or through the country's one republican lobby group. Republicans have no preferred model of republic, as individuals are driven by various factors, such as a perceived practicality of popular power being placed in the hands of an elected president or a different manifestation of the modern nation. As with its political counterpart, strong republicanism is not a prevalent element of contemporary Canadian society. The movement's roots precede Canadian Confederation and it has emerged from time to time in Canadian politics, but has not been a dominant force since the Rebellions of 1837, of which Canadian republicans consider their efforts to be a continuation.
The Australian republic referendum held on 6 November 1999 was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament following a bi-partisan appointment model which had been approved by a half-elected, half-appointed Constitutional Convention held in Canberra in February 1998. The second question, generally deemed to be far less important politically, asked whether Australia should alter the Constitution to insert a preamble. For some years opinion polls had suggested that a majority of the electorate favoured a republic. Nonetheless, the republic referendum was defeated due to division among republicans on the method proposed for selection of the president and dissident republicans subsequently supporting the no campaign.
Republicanism in New Zealand is a political position that holds that New Zealand's system of government should be changed from a constitutional monarchy to a republic.
The monarchy of Jamaica is a constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of Jamaica. The terms Crown in Right of Jamaica, Her Majesty in Right of Jamaica, or The Queen in Right of Jamaica may also be used to refer to the entire executive of the government of Jamaica. Though the Jamaican Crown has its roots in the British Crown, it has evolved to become a distinctly Jamaican institution, represented by its own unique symbols.
The Cabinet of the Government of Jamaica is the ultimate decision-making body of the executive within the Westminster system of government in traditional constitutional theory. The Cabinet of Jamaica is the principal instrument of government policy. It consists of the Prime Minister, and a minimum of thirteen other Ministers of Government, who must be members of one of the two Houses of Parliament. Not more than four members of the Cabinet may be members of the Senate. The Minister of Finance must be an elected member of the House of Representatives. The Shadow Cabinet of Jamaica is seen as the alternative to the Cabinet of Jamaica, led by the Leader of the Opposition (Jamaica), and is charged with fairly criticizing and providing alternative policy to that proposed by the Government.
Republicanism in Barbados is a political proposal for Barbados to transition from a parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a hereditary monarch to a republic.
General elections were held in Jamaica on 9 February 1989. The result was a victory for the People's National Party, which won 45 of the 60 seats. Voter turnout was 78.4%.
Scottish republicanism is an ideology based on the belief that Scotland should be a republic, as opposed to being under the monarchy of the United Kingdom. This is usually proposed through either Scotland becoming an independent republic, or being part of a reformed Britain.
The 1998 Australian Constitutional Convention was a Constitutional Convention which gathered at Old Parliament House, Canberra from 2 to 3 February 1998. It was called by the Howard Government to discuss whether Australia should become a republic. The convention concluded with "in principle support" for an Australian republic and proposed a model involving appointment of the head of state by Parliament. The model was put to a referendum in November 1999 and rejected by the Australian electorate.
The Colony of Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. In Jamaica, this date is celebrated as Independence Day, a national holiday.
Michael Manley, son of former Prime Minister Norman Manley, was elected Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1972. To address growing inequality in Jamaican society, Manley embarked on several democratic socialist reforms of the state, including land ownership reform, free education from primary to university, and nationalization of certain industries. Such policies had massive popularity among many people in Jamaica, but there were others who either saw the reforms as contrary to their businesses or as a high precursor to a Cuban-style communist government. Beginning in 1974, he was also opposed by the more conservative Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). The JLP used the threat of socialism to build support among property owners and churchgoers, attracting more middle-class support. By 1976 the two politicians hired local gangsters to help them increase their hold on power.