Jamaica to break links with Queen, says Prime Minister Simpson Miller

 
Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller making her inaugural address in Kingston Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says it's time for Jamaica to have complete independence

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Jamaica's new Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has said she intends to make the island a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth as the head of state.

In her inaugural address, Ms Simpson Miller said the time had come for Jamaica to break with the British monarchy and have its own president.

The announcement comes ahead of celebrations to mark 50 years of Jamaican independence from Britain.

The Queen's grandson, Prince Harry, is due to the visit the island this year.

'Time come'

"I love the Queen, she is a beautiful lady, and apart from being a beautiful lady she is a wise lady and a wonderful lady," Ms Simpson Miller said after swearing the oath of office.

"But I think time come".

"As we celebrate our achievements as an independent nation, we now need to complete the circle of independence," the prime minister added.

In response, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said "the issue of the Jamaican head of state was entirely a matter for the Jamaican government and people".

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh greeted by school children in Jamaica in 1953 Jamaica was still a British colony when the Queen visited in 1953, shortly after her coronation

Ms Simpson Miller, 66, became prime minister for the second time after her People's National Party won a big election victory on 29 December.

Her inaugural address mostly focused on her plans to revive Jamaica's economy.

The Caribbean island has widespread poverty, high unemployment and huge debts.

Ms Simpson Miller is not the first Jamaican leader to promise to move towards a republic.

In the early 1990s, then-Prime Minister PJ Patterson also said it was time for the island to have its own head of state, and set 2007 as the deadline.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 129.

    A fantastic example being set by Jamaica, and I hope many other countries in the same situation looking on will follow suit. This is a move towards greater democracy, transparency and accountability as well as a state doing the right thing and taking full control of its own affairs. Well done to Ms Simpson Miller.

  • rate this
    +20

    Comment number 124.

    The BBC ran an article last year indicating that 60% of Jamaicans would prefer the UK as it's government. I doubt that this move is generally popular in Jamaica.

  • rate this
    +24

    Comment number 86.

    If a nation wants its own head of state then it is entirely the decision of its people. If they don't want the Queen as their head of state then that is up to them. They will presumably stay in the commonwealth as it is a useful international forum.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 85.

    Jamaica should do what is best for it and its people. Progress is important but so is history, identity, and a sense of belonging. The Queen is one of the most respected people in the world and the people need to question whether a president would make a better head of state or open a pandoras box. I certainly feel a loyalty to the Commonwealth countries as a Brit.

  • rate this
    +60

    Comment number 49.

    Jamaica has been an independent sovereign nation for 50 years and, just Like Australia, Canada or any of the other 15 Realms that have The Queen as Head of State they could have become a Republic in any of those years. They chose not to, it's up to the people of Jamaica to change & nothing to do with the UK being a Colonial master. I'm sure the Queen will bow out with grace.

 

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