MINISTER of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte is again urging the public to get enumerated in order to vote in a referendum to determine if the country should cut ties with the British Monarchy to become a republic.
Malahoo Forte, who was guest speaker at the Rotary Club of New Kingston’s general meeting last Friday, reminded that only people on the voters’ list will be eligible to vote in the referendum at the appointed time.
“At the end of the day, the public will be called upon to approve the Bill [to decide on cutting ties] that goes through Parliament but it is not any member of the public, it is the electorate. So for those of you who have opted out because you perhaps are so disillusioned with the practice of politics, I am going to ask you to enumerate [to] participate,” she said.
The Constitutional Reform Committee, tasked with providing expert guidance and oversight for Jamaica’s smooth transition from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, is aiming for a referendum by early next year.
At a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange in April, Malahoo Forte had underscored that Jamaicans who want to vote to decide to ditch the monarchy or not will have to be registered by September this year “because the Electoral Commission of Jamaica always has to have a list ready for an election to be held — be it referendum or general election.”
The voters’ list is printed in Jamaica every six months, May 31 and November 30 of each year.
On Friday, Malahoo Forte, who was speaking on the topic “Severing Ties Wid the Baby Fada”, stressed that the cause of severing ties, “I think, is a righteous cause”, pointing out that King Charles, the third King of Jamaica “represents British nationality, not Jamaican nationality”.
She also said she took umbrage at having to go through the “dehumanising process to go to where my head of state resides”.
The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister further stressed that all well-thinking Jamaicans have a role to play in the process of breaking free of the monarchy, quipping, “there is no safe space and no bubble that we can isolate ourselves in; we are all in this together”.
She noted that the work to reform the Constitution of Jamaica is just the beginning and expressed the hope that regardless which party is elected in the next general election, the process will continue.
“This work is life-altering to the nation. It’s much bigger than this current Administration,” she said.
Phase one of the constitutional reform process includes repatriation of the Constitution of Jamaica, abolition of the constitutional monarchy, establishment of the Republic of Jamaica, and all matters within the deeply entrenched provisions of the constitution for which a referendum is required to amend.
The work is to be done over three phases.