Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister hopeful that the work of the CRC will continue on a consensual basis, after Opposition Leader instructs 2 members not to sign report

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, says it is her hope and expectation that the work of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), will continue on a consensual basis as agreed upon at its inception over a year ago.

Her statement comes after Opposition Leader Mark Golding instructed the two Opposition members of the committee to not sign the report which is to be submitted to Cabinet.

The minister, says from the beginning, the members of the committee have worked collaboratively to arrive at unanimous recommendations for constitutional reform and she hopes this will be continued.  

Mrs. Malahoo Forte adds that for Jamaica to move from the English Monarchy, a consensus between both political parties is required.

Noting that she has sought to always accommodate the wishes and concerns of the Opposition representatives on the CRC, Mrs. Malahoo Forte says it is regrettable that the Opposition Leader has instructed his representatives on the committee not to sign the report, despite the report only having  recommendations to which all members of the committee agreed upon unanimously . 

Consistent with the terms of reference for the CRC, the minister says she is leading a phased reform process that begins in phase one, with a focus on those matters which are deeply entrenched, require a referendum, and upon which there is broad agreement, namely Jamaica’s transition from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Parliamentary Republic.

According to Mrs. Malahoo Forte, since the first meeting of the CRC, the Chair has ensured that all issues brought forth by the Opposition representatives were not only discussed freely but resolved to their satisfaction. 

She says consistent with the CRC’s solemn commitment to working consensually, the report includes only those matters on which a consensus was reached among its members.

Expressing hope for bipartisan cooperation, the minister says she is hopeful that both Government and Opposition can work together to help create the Republic of Jamaica.

Prior to the response from the government today, Mr. Golding yesterday explained why he instructed the two Opposition members of the CRC to not sign the report, which is to be submitted to Cabinet.

Golding outlined that he had written to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, stating the Opposition’s stance, as it relates to Jamaica cutting ties with England, via removal of the United Kingdom Privy Council, as Jamaica’s final appellate court and adopting in its place, the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Mr. Golding said Mr. Holness indicated that he would consider the matter, have necessary consultations and let the Opposition Leader know the government’s position.

He said there has not been any update on this specific matter.

He was therefore surprised that the government now wants the members of the CRC to sign a report that will be submitted to Cabinet.

Mr. Golding said one of the Opposition members on the committee expressed a willingness to share the document with him but was allegedly told by the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, this could only be provided on an embargoed basis.

Mr. Golding said he only received a copy of the final report on Wednesday and it was provided to him on a restrictive basis.

This he said, hinders thorough internal consultations on significant matters.

Mr. Golding stated that he intends to submit his comment on other aspects of the report to the responsible minister, for the consideration.

He also instructed the two Opposition members on the committee, to refrain from signing the report until the matter of full decolonization is resolved in a manner that will allow the committee to proceed in a bi-partisan manner.

The Opposition leader said he is anticipating a response from the Prime Minister, to clarify the government’s position regarding the critical matter of a seamless transition to full decolonisation, as a unified effort. 


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