Constitutional Reform Committee Meets with Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches 

The Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) recently met with members of the Jamaica Umbrella Group of Churches (JUGC) to address issues of concern regarding the country’s proposed transition to a republic. 

The discussions, which were held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, focused on several key areas, including the timeline for tabling the relevant Bill in Parliament, replacement of the United Kingdom Privy Council as Jamaica’s final appellant tribunal, amending the Coat of Arms, as well as the role of an appointed Executive President.  

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, in her remarks, reiterated the phases of reforming Jamaica’s Constitution, noting that provisions that “have worked for us” will not be removed.   

“The goal is to have a Constitution, passed by the Parliament of Jamaica [and] approved by the people of Jamaica,” she said.  

Mrs. Malahoo Forte informed stakeholders that the current timeline for tabling the Bill is necessary, “because it will take about a year to go through Parliament, and there is a timeframe for the referendum to be held”.  

“Then it will come upon the end of life for Parliament, and we didn’t want it to get intermingled with general elections,” she pointed out.  

For his part, Pastor of Swallowfield Chapel and member of the Committee, Dr. David Henry, in response to questions, said a subcommittee was appointed to establish a public education campaign on the process to better enable Jamaicans to “respond to issues that are relevant to them”.   

“This idea of a republic… it means the sovereignty of the people; it’s not a political party… it’s the people. This is [the] moment where we, as a people, can define the kind of governance we want in Jamaica,” he emphasised. 

“We need to help our people to understand how the very foundation, which is our Constitution, impacts those kinds of [governance] matters and invite them to be a part of this process of reform,” Dr. Henry further stated.  

The Committee, which is co-chaired by Minister Malahoo Forte and Ambassador Rocky Meade, is tasked with providing expert guidance and oversight to the Government and citizens during the reform process.  

It will also implement recommendations on the consensuses reached.  

Further consultations are set to be hosted in several parish capitals by the Committee in short order and will be published by the Ministry.

The original article can be found here.

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