Sunday, January 08, 2012

Jamaica Republic; Is This A Reverse Priority?

Portia Simpson-Miller
The new Prime Minister of Jamaica, Ms Portia Simpson-Miller announced one of her focus would be to relieve the Queen of England as Head of State of the Caribbean country by the end of this year. It is not a new case nonetheless but it is one of tiny relevance for Jamaica as far as governance is concerned.

Whilst Ms Simpson-Miller has been praised for her liberal stance on equality, especially for people with homosexual orientation, it is concerning that she would make the case of replacing a Head of State a priority.

Jamaica is independent of British rule for 50 years now and it is still distressing that the country has not improved beyond what Britain left it in 1962. Going by the ceremonial nature of the office of Head of State which the Queen occupies, it is almost useless to wrangle over the issue, especially not now that Jamaica's economy is unstable and dept is almost 130% of GDP.

Ms Simpson-Miller set herself apart when she announced during the election campaign that her government, if elected, would appoint gay people as well as others into the Cabinet as that would be based on ability, not sexual orientation. That parachuted her into a different level of Black leaders of the present generation. But what is this thing about Head of State?

Not that it is wrong or an untouchable issue, however, it portrays a rather reverse priority at this time. The economy, the freedom of expression and association of all Jamaicans, the protection of victimized and vulnerable Jamaiacans, and of course, improved trasportation networks and energy could be top priority including accountability. The Police Force is every now and then found to be wanting in leading civil peace and drug crime and thuggery are still fashionable.

These and the many others issues that directly affect the majority of people in Jamaica should surely be of high priority than who the Head of State is. The present Head of State costs the Jamaican tax payer very little while a new office of Head of State would increase spending, etc.

In summary, Jamaicans can decide what matters to them first; a robust economy, working democracy, safe society and accountable public officials; or the Head of State person.

Jamaica is very right to have a Head of State it deserves.

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