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Significant Progress in Work to Reform Jamaica’s Constitution

By: , June 7, 2023
Significant Progress in Work to Reform Jamaica’s Constitution
Photo: Donald De La Haye
Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, makes her contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday (June 6).

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Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, says work to advance reform of the Constitution has progressed significantly.

She said this commenced on March 1, with the appointment of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) members.

Mrs. Malahoo Forte noted that the CRC’s role is to assist in providing expert guidance and oversight to the Government and people of Jamaica during the constitutional reform process.

“[This is] as we aim to, among other things, implement the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional and Electoral Reform (JSCCER) on which consensus remains, while helping to build consensus where it has eroded or is non-existent on other related matters,” the Minister said.

She was speaking during her 2023/24 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 6).

Mrs. Malahoo Forte said, to date, 12 CRC meetings have been convened and almost 30 public consultations held.

“We want to hear from the public. All are invited to make written submissions to the Committee, and some will have the opportunity to follow up with oral submissions. We are especially asking for your submissions on the work being done in phase one,” she stated.

Some of the issues being dealt with in the first phase include abolition of the Constitutional Monarchy, establishment of the Office of the President (Executive vs.

Ceremonial President), extension of the life of Parliament, and qualification to sit in the Parliament.

“You may send your submissions by email to constitutionalreform@mlca.gov.jm,” Mrs. Malahoo Forte said.

Meanwhile, the Minister urged Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and Leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, to commit to the reform process regardless of who is in power.

“It is my hope that the work to reform the Constitution will continue with commitment from both sides, regardless of what happens after a general election. It is too important a work to be pushed aside, as has been done on many previous occasions,” Mrs Malahoo Forte said.

“Hopefully, we will have a commitment from the leaders on both sides of the parliamentary aisle about committing to the people of Jamaica, that the goals to be pursued are so important that we will continue regardless of the changes after a general election,” she added.

Last Updated: June 8, 2023

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