The former leader of the People’s National Party and also former prime minister to Jamaica, P.J. Patterson has presented an open letter to both PM Holness and the current leader of the PNP Mark Golding. The letter is a request for Jamaica to become a republic like fellow Caribbean island Barbados. The plea came two days after Barbados severed ties with the British Monarchy by declaring itself a republic.
PJ Patterson is hoping that the deed can be done by the time Jamaica gets its 60 years of independence in 2022.
According to the former leader, the island currently has a head of state that doesn’t reflect Jamaica’s image, he stated it’s, “repulsive to contemplate a Diamond Jubilee where our Constitution rests on an Order in Council dated the 23rd July 1962, and a Head of State who does not reflect our own image…”
He continued in his letter, “I write to you jointly as our prime minister and leader of the opposition who have the political authority and the opportunity to capture a truly historic landmark by [the] establishment of Jamaica as a republic within the Commonwealth and simultaneously repatriate our Constitution during the 60th anniversary of our independence in 2022.”
PJ Patterson, recalls the fact that Jamaica was engaged in talks and consultations on moving towards a republic system before Jamaica entered its 40th year of independence. He outlined that, “since then the political parties you both leaders have repeatedly accepted the institution of our own indigenous president as head of state. This has been reflected in the election manifestoes of both the JLP and PNP since 2002.”
PJ Patterson suggests that “It would be a spectacular contribution to building our parliamentary democracy; permitting both parties to share a single platform in a campaign to secure national approval and allow one of our own image to become head of state. That would inspire the fullest confidence in ourselves.”
“I sincerely believe that the solution to these and other problems requires unity of purpose and action, transcending partisan borders. I dare to suggest that a powerful signal of combined will when government and opposition are seen to act together, would be transmitted to our entire population,” he wrote.
He concluded by stating that, “It would demonstrate our determination to act in concert by making the long-overdue constitutional change as we promote our common identity and make our National Motto — ‘Out of Many, One People’ — a meaningful reality.”