Mark Golding, who took over as People’s National Party (PNP) premier in November 2020, described the measure as critical, especially in light of the Black Lives Matter resurgence and global discourse on colonialism.
This comes as it was revealed that the Jamaican Labour Party-led government is preparing a petition to the Queen for compensation for the transatlantic slave trade.
The Jamaican government’s call for reparations is consistent with CARICOM, the Caribbean’s regional government body, which established a 10-point reparations plan in 2013. The PNP tabled a motion for parliamentary debate on the issue “months ago,” but it has yet to be brought forward for debate because the government has not facilitated it, according to the party leader.
The legal process for deposing the Queen, also known as the Queen of Jamaica, as head of state is complicated.
Legislation must be approved by two-thirds of both Houses of Parliament – the Representatives and the Senate – before being put to the people of Jamaica in a referendum.
The only referendum held in Jamaica was the year before independence, to determine whether or not the island should remain in the West Indies Federation. Jamaica’s current government, led by Andrew Holness, pledged in its 2016 manifesto to address the issue of removing the Queen.
Similarly, during Portia Simpson-administration Miller’s from 2012 to 2016, the PNP identified this as a source of concern.
The party also advocated for Jamaica to abandon the Privy Council’s Judicial Committee, which has colonial roots, as the island’s final court of appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice. This move, however, was thwarted by the JLP, the Opposition at the time. Andrew Holness was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council, a body of advisors to the sovereign, last week, which critics argue indicates a willingness to be closer to the crown rather than cut ties with it.
Removing the Queen as head of state and demanding reparations, according to Carolyn Cooper, Professor Emerita at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, go hand in hand. She suggests that it is a matter of long-overdue liberation, and that both are equally important. Governor General Sandra Mason confirmed that on the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence, November 30, 2021, Barbados will abolish the British monarchy and install a Bajan president as head of state.
This viewpoint was shared by Maxine Stowe, Intellectual Property Consultant and Director of the Rastafari Millennium Council in Jamaica.
Ms Stowe stated that the Jamaican government’s call for the measure “must be as an endorsement and robust funding of a collective independent civil society grouping represented by human rights and business lawyers that heads the de-colonization process and that they represent in State to State negotiations.”
“The history of the independent Jamaican government towards African descendants and culture is one of oppression and non-protection,” she continued. At the same time, Jamaica should be granted State status in the African Union, with more bilateral agreements connecting civil societies.”
According to Abu Akil, co-chair of the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC), “GAC recognizes that the legacy of colonialism must be challenged in order to restore Afrikan people’s humanity.”
“By removing the Queen as head of state, the Jamaican people and government will gain more independence. This will put an end to the absurd situation in which Jamaica’s prime ministers report to a Governor General who reports to the Queen while being paid by the Jamaican people, the majority of whom continue to pay the price of enslavement.”
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace stated, “Removing the Queen as Head of State is a matter for the people of Jamaica.” Concerning the reparations petition, this is a matter for the government.”