Members of the Constitutional Reform Committee, who are guiding the country’s transition to a republic, have sought to clarify that the perspectives and recommendations formed by them are not fixed or final.
Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte explained that constitutional reform is “a very involved and complex process”.
“The work that we are doing is to be done in phases and… we will begin with those matters requiring change that must ultimately be approved by the people, and that is simply what the referendum is,” Malahoo Forte said.
Representative of the wider faith-based society and Committee member, Dr David Henry, further said that once the group forms a perspective, the insight of the public is what is invited.
“We have discussed among ourselves a number of things, recommendations which would have been made by previous committees and so on, and we have come to perspectives on certain matters, but those are not final,” Henry noted.
“And so, when we put something out there, we are not saying ‘this is where we are and it’s fixed’. We’re actually saying, ‘we’re inviting your feedback, your pushback, your commentary, your suggestions, your insight in relation to those matters’, and this is precisely why we are here,” he added.
“It is such an important process that mandates every Jamaican to account to ourselves and to our children and to the generations to come, what it is that we actually do with this process. The Committee does not make decisions; the Committee deliberates. They’re a group of experts, and we’re also taking the views of others that are not now sitting on the Committee,” she said.
“If the Committee puts out a recommendation, it is a recommendation that we have discussed among ourselves and we’re of the view that as a Committee we believe that we need to say to Jamaicans ‘let’s think about it this way’,” she added.
Mrs Davis Mattis also informed that the Committee has been looking at other jurisdictions outside of the Commonwealth and has been receiving submissions from other groups within the society.
The Constitutional Reform Committee was named by Prime Minister, the Most Andrew Holness, earlier this year.
The first public consultation town hall meeting was held in Montego Bay on April 26.