Should Jamaica become a republic?

By way of background, the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to become a republic was Guyana (1970), followed by Trinidad and Tobago (1976), Dominica (1978), and Barbados (2021). Although Jamaica has been an independent country for 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II is still the head of state here. (I am in Jamaica this week.) As an outsider, however, I find this constitutional question to be amusing at best given the Jamaican government’s terrible track record in the areas of crime, garbage collection, and road repair (just ask any Jamaican about these three areas of life). Also, as explained in this informative essay by Derek O’Brien on “Jamaica’s long and winding road to becoming a Republic”, any major change to Jamaica’s constitutional status would require a referendum. But guess what? A constitutional referendum on precisely this question has now been scheduled for the next general election in the year 2025. Is this referendum a “smokescreen” for the government’s inability to fight crime, fix major roads like the A3 (a state of affairs that I can personally attest to), and collect garbage in a timely manner (see here, for example)? What if, instead of becoming a republic, Jamaica joined the United Kingdom as an equal? What if Jamaicans were to send an entire delegation to the House of Commons in London, like the Northern Irish, Scots, and Welsh do? At the very least, if you ask me, Jamaica’s 2025 referendum should include that latter option as well …

Caribbean Basin Revisited: CQR

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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