LONDON – High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Her Excellency Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, has assured UK-based Jamaicans that plans by the Government to replace Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, will not impact the country economically or charge its relationship with the Commonwealth.
Mrs. Ndombet Assamba gave the assurance as she delivered the keynote address at the third Biennial conference of the Jamaican Diaspora UK held on Saturday (June 16) at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith, London.
Speaking on the topic: ‘Monarchy or Republic,’ she gave a detailed outline of the historical and present reality of the monarchical system in Jamaica.
She said that there has been a growing recognition over the years that the present Constitutional arrangements need to be fashioned in a manner to make them applicable to present day Jamaica.
The High Commissioner said she is "firmly of the view that Jamaica can only logically complete the circle of true independence if it becomes a Republic with a local Head of State that is representative of the people of Jamaica, of their aspirations and of their vision of where they want to go".
"Let me make it clear, regardless of who we have as our Head of State, we are going to be a member of the Commonwealth," Mrs. Ndombet Assamba told the hundreds of Jamaicans and friends of the island at the conference.
She said that while the work to facilitate the change will start this year, the process will take some time as the "provisions relating to the Queen as our Head of State are deeply entrenched".
"Any alteration will require an agreement of the two major political parties and would involve a delayed period as well as a simple majority of the electorate through a referendum," the High Commissioner explained.
She noted that there will also be several months of public consultations and education.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in her remarks at a recent beacon lighting ceremony in Kingston to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, said that Jamaica will always hold the British Monarchy in high esteem.
She said that within the monarchical system there are many areas for emulation as Jamaica pursues a path for sustainable development.
Simpson Miller said Jamaica will continue to value its membership in the Commonwealth, which provides an important platform for strengthening cooperation with the UK and other Commonwealth members.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ndomet Assamba told the gathering that these discussions should not be confused with the debate about replacing the UK Privy Council as Jamaica highest court of appeal.
"These are two different issues and it is quite separate and apart from the discussions about changing the status of our Head of State and should not be confused," she said.