Rate this
0 (0 votes)
"Jamaica’s 50th year and Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year"
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

"Jamaica’s 50th year and Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year"

Debate is raging in Jamaica over whether the Caribbean island nation should sever ties with the British monarchy. Shane Cunningham, 26, a junior academic at the University of the West Indies, writes about the potential fallout of such a decision.

For all nations that have been imperial outposts the question of their relationship with the former coloniser is usually a hot button subject for a variety of reasons.

With the intersection of Jamaica’s 50th year of independence and Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year of ascension to the throne that hot button has been pressed once more in Jamaican public discourse.

From the bar stools of Kingston to the highest office in the land the question of the day has become “to sever or not to sever ties?”

Several points of view emerge. On one hand you have the ‘cut ties now’ folk –

  • “How can we say we are truly independent unless we cut away all the vestiges of the colonial era?”
  • “What does the queen do for us anyway?”
  • “Why keep ties if we need visas to go there?”

On the other hand, you have the ‘pro maintenance of ties’ crowd –

  • “We are a small island that can’t maintain ourselves, why did we even become independent?”
  • “Look at our neighbours that are still British dependencies – they are better off than we are.”
  • “It’s going to cost us an arm and leg to sever ties so why bother?”

The debate will rage forever. Rather than wade into it, I must confess that one aspect of the discussion that has troubled me is the lack of understanding among large swathes of the Jamaican public as to how our relationship with the monarchy works, particularly as it pertains to Jamaica’s status as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

A key aspect of the public discourse on Jamaica’s possible pursuit of republic status has been the idea that by becoming a republic we somehow will automatically forfeit or membership of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The erroneous nature of the latter proposition is problematic, yet inherently hope-inspiring, as wherever facts are cloudy we collectively have the chance to “un-muddy” the waters.

Thus we come full circle: What does the coincidence of Jamaica 50 and the Diamond Jubilee have to do with the Commonwealth and people’s understanding of it in Jamaica?

One word: OPPORTUNITY.

These two momentous occasions allow the opportunity for education. With the increased spotlight on our relationship with the United Kingdom, the perfect moment for all fallacy and misconceptions to be dealt with is created, thus allowing a more informed and constructive dialogue on the way forward for our young and developing nation.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me:

“I am a graduate of the University of the West Indies Mona, holding a MSc. in Government (international relations specialisation) and a BSc. in International Relations (first class honours). My ambition is to serve my country in some public policy formulation capacity as well as to eventually pursue a Phd. with a focus on Development Studies and/or aspects of International Relations and Foreign Policy.”

“I am also a die-hard sports fan especially of football and basketball and a lover of food but not so adventurous as it comes to trying new stuff.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments