Think twice about a republic, Jamaican bishop warns: The Church of England Newspaper, June 17, 2012 p 6. June 15, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Politics.
Tags: Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Howard Gregory, monarchy, Portia Miller-Simpson, republicanism
The Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands has urged Jamaicans to think carefully before backing the Caribbean island government’s plans for a republic.
In a service at St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Kingston marking the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen on 10 June 2012, the Rt. Rev. & Hon. Howard Gregory stated the “zeal” to become a republic would not solve the country’s political problems.
“Today, our nation now finds itself at the crossroads as we seek to continue the historical process of self-identity and self-definition, which was consolidated in our attainment of Independence in 1962. Fifty years later, we now seek to take a further step by taking the inevitable step towards becoming a republic.”
“I believe that in our zeal, we run the real risk of discrediting the monarchical system of governance which has brought us thus far. While we do so in a political culture, which is increasingly cynical and despairing of political leadership and governance, we need to be extremely careful that we do not evaluate the system which has brought us thus far with such negativity, if not impoliteness and ungraciousness,” the bishop said.
Drawing upon middle class fiscal discontent the People’s National Party (PNP) led by Portia Miller-Simpson trounced the ruling conservative Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) of Prime Minister Andrew Holness at the 29 December 2011 election. While the swing toward the PNP was only 3.7 per cent, with only 60,000 votes separating the parties out of 800,000 cast, the PNP won the majority of closely contested districts, giving it 42 seats to the JLP’s 21 in parliament.
Among its campaign pledges, the PNP promised to break its current ties with the UK and establish a republic in time for the 50th anniversary of independence celebration.
Speaking at a beacon lighting ceremony in downtown Kingston last week in celebration of the Jubilee, Mrs. Simpson-Miller affirmed her government’s desire to become a republic. But she added that Jamaica will always hold the monarchy in high esteem and valued its membership in the Commonwealth.
However, in his Jubilee sermon Bishop Gregory questioned the moves toward a republic, and lauded the Queen’s service to her subjects.
“Having assumed the throne, which was thrust upon her by circumstances that were not of her making, … she has brought to the monarchy … singleness of purpose, dedication and sensitivity to her people, often a resounding theme in her Christmas messages and on the occasion of her visit to various nations. She has also brought a level of humanity and public engagement as much as the office has allowed as head of a royal household and of a realm,” the bishop said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.