The Full Story
The Government will be moving with haste and alacrity towards transforming Jamaica into a republic, says Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
Addressing Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett’s 25th Anniversary Scholarship Programme, at the Half Moon Hotel in St. James, on January 14, Mr. Holness said that while the process is something he inherited, he never expected it “to be a straight line”.
“It is time that Jamaica become a republic. For us, the process is not simple, and we have known this from we started on this journey, and we are making sure that we check every box as we move deliberately in that regard,” the Prime Minister noted.
“So, I’m saying to you Hon. Minister (Marlene Malahoo Forte), please move ahead with speed and alacrity on this matter. Jamaica must become a Republic,” he said, adding that whatever obstacles the process might encounter, the Government will be in for the long haul and will do whatever it takes.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister pointed out that he regularly keeps tab on the homicide rate, particularly in St. James, and has firmly concluded that “the states of public emergency (SOEs) have worked”.
“I do my research in this area for my own personal interest, and I see the President of El Salvador gets 10 straight extensions of their state of emergency, moving their murder rate from as high as 100 per 100,000 to seven per 100,000,” Mr. Holness said.
“So, as I reflect on Jamaica, in El Salvador 60,000 persons have been arrested… and in Jamaica, we are nowhere near that. We are two weeks, maximum 30 persons,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said he is not proposing, “by any stretch of the imagination, that we should contemplate that course of action”.
“But I wish to point out that as the society moves back and forth with some of these academic arguments, people are losing their lives,” Mr. Holness said.
“And the more we remain divided on the subject of taking instrumental and decisive action, criminals feel as if they have [places] where they can hide… . We must close the gap. So, we still hope for consensus to allow us to use the constitutional tools in a judicious way and in a way that respects human rights and preserves our liberal democracy,” he emphasised.