Jamaica to oust UK’s queen as official head of state
-Adolphus Oseiwe Igenegbale
Queen Elizabeth II is the official head of state in Commonwealth countries, though that could soon no longer be the case in Jamaica.
Her appointee urges legislators to replace her with a “non-executive president”
Jamaican Governor-General Patrick Allen in a speech to legislators proposed a constitutional amendment “to replace Her Majesty The Queen with a Non-Executive President as Head of State” in the Caribbean nation.
While Elizabeth II isn’t involved much at all in the day-to-day functioning of Jamaica’s government, she’s officially head of state in 15 nations in what’s called the Commonwealth, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Like Jamaica, all have longstanding ties to the United Kingdom and British monarchy, even if they are independent otherwise.
Allen was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, just like other Jamaican governor-generals. In fact, the King’s House official website notes that his title is “Her Majesty’s representative in Jamaica,” suggesting that Allen is effectively pushing to push himself out.
This isn’t the only proposal laid out in Allen’s speech to legislators, which comes weeks after a narrow election win for the once-opposition Jamaica Labour Party. He also talked about a host of other legislative priorities in the so-called throne speech, which was posted on a government website.
These touch on subjects like health care, housing, education and tourism. There was also a focus on justice, which Allen called “integral for the improvement of the general well-being and to create a prosperous society.”
One element of this relates to the Dangerous Drugs Act. In his speech, Allen called for an amendment “to give legalization for marijuana to be used for specific purposes.”
Already, this legislation has been tweaked to allow the “use of ganja by persons of the Rastafarian faith and use for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes.” It also states that possession of 2 or fewer ounces of ganja — another word for marijuana — is no longer a criminal offense.
In his speech, Allen did not specify how he wants to change the portions of the law related to marijuana, a drug long associated with Jamaica.