Mov­ing to­wards true in­de­pen­dence

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDITOR, Sir: THE MEM­BERS of the Ro­tary Club of St Andrew voted unan­i­mously on Oc­to­ber 23, 2016 to re­move the Toast to the Queen from its for­mal meet­ing pro­ceed­ings. This is a sig­nif­i­cant change for a club that cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary on Septem­ber 8, 2016. The Toast to the Queen and the singing of the Ja­maica National An­them were en­trenched in the club’s con­sti­tu­tion.

The de­ci­sion of the club to re­move the Toast to the Queen may have been brought on by the fail­ure of the club to se­cure au­di­ence with the gover­nor gen­eral af­ter two un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts. “How can we toast the Queen when her rep­re­sen­ta­tive is not will­ing to meet with us?” asked one mem­ber.

This de­vel­op­ment now highlights an age-old de­bate: whether we should re­move the gover­nor gen­eral as the head of state in Ja­maica. Ja­maica re­ceived its in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tain 54 years ago, and it is very ironic that the gover­nor gen­eral is still our head of state. It is also very im­por­tant to note that our fi­nal ju­di­cial court is still in the hands of our colo­nial mas­ter, and we all need a visa to have our cases heard.

Not long ago, we had the annual cel­e­bra­tions of In­de­pen­dence Day and National Heroes Day; it is now full time that the Ja­maican peo­ple ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ of a truly in­de­pen­dent na­tion and con­tinue the work and the fight of our heroes. While Ja­maica’s in­de­pen­dence is rel­a­tively young com­pared to, say, the USA, enough time has cer­tainly elapsed for us to ef­fect fur­ther in­cre­men­tal changes. Trinidad and Tobago was able the sever ties with the Queen 14 years af­ter re­ceiv­ing its in­de­pen­dence in 1962.

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that only a few months ago Bri­tain voted to leave the Euro­pean Union; a de­ci­sion that shocked the world. It is time for us to re­move the shack­les of our colo­nial past and move to­wards a truly in­de­pen­dent na­tion. The Queen as head of state and the Privy Coun­cil as our fi­nal ju­di­cial court are not merely sym­bolic in­sti­tu­tions, “for as a man thin­keth so is he”. How do we truly view our in­de­pen­dence? KEMMEHI LOZER Vice-Pres­i­dent Ro­tary Club of St Andrew k_lozer@ya­

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