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JAMAICA: PM Announces Members of Constitutional Reform Committee

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#Kingston, March 27, 2023 – Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced the names of the members of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC), which will play a key role in ensuring Jamaica’s smooth transition to a Republic.

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte and Ambassador Rocky Meade, are co-chairs of the body, which includes Attorney General, Dr. Derrick McKoy; Senate President, Tom Tavares Finson; Government Senator, Ransford Braham; Opposition Senator, Donna Scott Mottley; Member of Parliament, St. Andrew Western, Anthony Hylton; international constitutional law expert, Professor Richard Albert; national constitutional expert, Dr. Lloyd Barnett; consultant counsel and nominee of the leader of the Opposition, Hugh Small; representative of the wider faith-based society, Dr. David Henry; civil society representative, Dr. Nadeen Spence; Chair of the National Committee on Reparations, Lalieta Davis Mattis; and youth advisor, Sujae Boswell.

Christopher Harper will serve as the Committee’s liaison officer.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday (March 22) at Jamaica House in St Andrew, Prime Minister Holness said the knowledge and guidance of the CRC will be crucial in the transition process.

“Their job is significant and I thank all of them for giving of their time and effort, knowledge and guidance to the process. I am confident that we will be able to meet the ambitious timelines that have been set and that we will be one step further in redefining who we are as a country and as a sovereign people,” he said.

He explained that the job of the Committee involves reviewing the work that has already been done, to pull from that body of work what is relevant to today’s circumstance and to give advice and guidance to the overall process.

“There may be the view that it is a straightforward and simple task of just changing the name of the country from that of a constitutional monarchy to a republic; that is not the case. There are many legal steps that we have to go through and there is the matter of a referendum, the outcome of which no one can predict,” he said, noting that the Government is committed to the process.

“This is not a partisan endeavor and I want to give the public the assurance that whatever we do, we will be acting in the best interest of the people of Jamaica,” he said.

Minister Malahoo Forte, in her remarks, informed that the committee will be meeting next Wednesday (March 29).

“The work has commenced in earnest. We settled the terms of reference for the committee this morning with an extremely ambitious timeline. I am grateful that all committee members have committed to working to achieving the goals along the way,” she said.

She explained that the terms of reference agree that the work will be undertaken in phases, “and we are focusing on phase one, which will abolish the constitutional monarchy and establish the Republic of Jamaica and related matters… .  We looked at a timeline to get the Bill to Parliament in the shortest possible time”.

She pledged that the nation will be kept abreast of the process not only through media engagement but with statements in the Parliament.

The Committee’s purpose is to provide expert guidance and oversight to the Government and people of Jamaica during the constitutional reform process and  implement recommendations on the consensuses reached.

The Committee is also expected to build consensus in areas where it has been eroded or is non-existent on important matters related to the process.

The body will be required to assess how the passage of time has impacted the recommendations of the 1995 Joint Select Committee on the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Report.

Members will, additionally, advise on what fresh perspectives should be considered in light of previous and current national, regional, or international developments and propose any necessary modifications to update the recommendations for implementation.

The Committee will further evaluate the recommendations on the establishment of the Office of a President, advise on the nature, qualification, tenure of the incumbent, and the legislative, executive, or ceremonial powers to be exercised by that individual.

The Government intends to hold a referendum relating to Jamaica’s proposed transition to a Republic.

The work will be done in three phases.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

Photo Captions: 

Header: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (foreground) with members of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) at Jamaica House in St. Andrew on March 22. Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte (second left) and Ambassador Rocky Meade (third right), are co-chairs of the committee.

Insert: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (at the podium) addressing a press conference to announce the members of the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) at Jamaica House in St. Andrew on March 22. He is flanked by committee co-chairs Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte (left) and Ambassador Rocky Meade.

Photographer: Yhomo Hutchinson

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UN Sec-Gen has special Message on Nelson Mandela Day

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Nelson Mandela showed us the extraordinary difference one person can make in building a better world.

And as the theme of this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day reminds us – combatting poverty and inequality is in our hands.

Our world is unequal and divided.

Hunger and poverty are rife.

The richest one per cent are responsible for the same quantity of planet-wrecking greenhouse gases as two-thirds of humanity.

These are not natural facts. They are the result of humanity’s choices. And we can decide to do things differently.

We can choose to eradicate poverty.

We can choose to end inequality.

We can choose to transform the international economic and financial system in the name of equity.

We can choose to fight racism, respect human rights, combat climate change, and create a world that works for all humanity.

Every one of us can contribute – through actions large and small.

I join the Nelson Mandela Foundation in urging everyone to perform 67 minutes of public service on Nelson Mandela International Day – one minute for each year he fought for justice.

Together, let’s honour Madiba’s legacy and turn our hands towards building a better world for all.

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AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024) set to strengthen Africa-CARICOM linkages  

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Speakers at ACTIF will include global superstars Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Didier Drogba and African and CARICOM Heads of States

 

Nassau, Bridgetown, Georgetown, May 28, 2024 – Excitement mounts as The Bahamas prepares to host the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) from 12 – 14 June 2024 in The Bahamas. Themed “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa,” ACTIF2024 is set to forge significant pathways for economic prosperity between Africa and the Caribbean.

Other distinguished speakers will include Heads of State from seven CARICOM countries, former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Trade, Economic Development and Finance, Dr. Roger W Ferguson, Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, USA, Prof. Andreas Klasen, Professor of International Business and Director of the Institute for Trade and Innovation at Offenburg, and many more.

Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank, said: “We are witnessing shifts in the global economic landscape and the trade strategies of major economies, making it imperative for African and Caribbean nations to unite for mutual prosperity. The Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in The Bahamas will serve as a strategic platform to enhance our economic bonds. These events indicate a vibrant assertion of our shared destiny. We are poised to harness the dynamic economic growth within our regions, enhancing our collective resilience and prosperity.”

The event promises to be a pivotal platform for high-level discussions on economic development and regional integration.

Building on the successes of the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Barbados in 2022 and the gathering last year in Guyana, this year’s Forum in The Bahamas will further elevate and expand upon the discussions and initiatives previously set in motion. ACTIF2023, which focused on strengthening economic bonds and creating new investment opportunities, sets a precedent for meaningful collaboration between Africa and the CARICOM nations.

Afreximbank invites industry leaders, trade organisations and other stakeholders in the CARICOM region to participate and attend.

Registration is now open at https://2024.afreximbankevents.com.

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International Community must address conflict between Israel and Iran

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

With tensions between Israel and Iran at an all-time high, a United Nations affiliated group is urging for calm and dialogue as their violent actions can cause tragic devastation on innocent civilians.

According to Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an organisation that is dedicated to promoting peace through civilian-led initiatives, “it is a clear indication that the greatest victims of war are innocent civilians. 

How could those lost lives ever be brought back? What could compensate for the outcry of children and the anguish of the youth in devastated dwellings?,” the group noted in a media statement, adding that  the international community should  take “decisive measures” to address the conflict.

It is also advocating for the establishment of “comprehensive international laws” to safeguard peace for future generations. “HWPL remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering dialogue and reconciliation, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Iran,” the group said.

HWPL is a non-profit organisation, with a mission to promoting peace through education, and advocacy. It has a global network spanning over 170 countries. The organisation works to build bridges of understanding and cooperation, striving towards a world free from conflict and violence.

According to reports in various international media outlets, Iran and its militant partners on April 13 initiated a large-scale attack against Israel through launching several hundred ballistic missiles and drones. The international society expressed concerns over the possibility of war between the two states, since Tehran’s direct attack on Israel was unprecedented.

Experts have pointed out that the attack on Israel was Iran’s response to an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1, which killed seven military advisers including three senior commanders.

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