The Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs has officially named the high-level Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), which will provide expert guidance and oversight to Jamaica’s smooth transition from a Constitutional Monarchy to a Republic.
Prime Minster, The Most Honourable Andrew Holness made the announcement at a press conference today (March 22). He noted that the Committee boasts representation from a diverse cross-section of the society, which includes the Government, Parliamentary Opposition, the Attorney General, constitutional law and governance experts, representatives from academia and civil society, along with a youth advisor.
The Committee is chaired by the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte. The other members include:
- Ambassador Rocky Meade, CD – Co-Chair/Office of the Prime Minister
- Dr. Derrick McKoy, CD, JP, KC – Attorney General of Jamaica
- Senator the Hon. Tom Tavares-Finson, OJ, CD, KC- President of the Senate & Commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica
- Senator Ransford Braham, CD, KC- Government Senator
- Senator Donna Scott-Mottley- Parliamentary Opposition – Senate
- Mr Anthony Hylton, CD, MP- Parliamentary Opposition – House of Representatives
- Prof. Richard Albert- International Constitutional Law Expert
- Dr. the Hon. Lloyd Barnett, OJ- National Constitutional Law Expert
- Mr Hugh Small, KC- Consultant Counsel & Nominee of the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition
- Dr. David Henry- Wider Society – Faith-based
- Dr. Nadeen Spence- Civil Society – Social & Political Commentator
- Mrs. Laleta Davis Mattis- National Reparations Committee
- Mr Sujae Boswell – Youth Advisor
While the work of the Committee is critical to achieving the reform goals on which we have consensus, Prime Minister Holness also stated that “the narrative, education and arguments should be presented to the public, so that they are indeed, not just by-standers but are included in the process.”
Minister Malahoo Forte stated that the establishment of the committee is a step in the right direction for the country’s constitutional reform process and “has confidence that the committee will be able to complete its assigned responsibilities”.
She further said that “the work of the committee will be done in three phases to craft a modern and new Constitution which reflects an appreciation and understanding of our cultural heritage, governance challenges and development aspirations, and which embodies the will of the People of Jamaica”.
The committee is mandated to:
- Assess how the passage of time has impacted the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional and Electoral Reform (JSCCER) contained in its Final Report (1995) which were submitted to and approved by the Parliament
- Evaluate the said recommendations of the JSCCER on the establishment of the office of President
- Assist in co-ordinating the required parliamentary cross-aisle and nationwide consultation and collaboration during the various phases of the reform work; and
- Help to educate the electorate on their role in the referendum process.
The Committee, which will receive technical and administrative support from a Secretariat, managed by the Ministry, will be required to serve between March 2023 and, all things being equal, no later than the end of the constitutional life of the Parliament