Jamaica and Queen Elizabeth the Second


Portia Simpson Miller at her swearing in as Prime Minister of Jamaica yesterday. She called for a Jamaican to replace Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as the country's ceremonial head of state.



Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence in 2012 with a new Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller of the People's National Party, and a new attitude to what is still called "the mother country," Britain.

Like many former colonies, including Australia and New Zealand, which are part of the 54-nation British Commonwealth, Jamaica claims Queen Elizabeth as ceremonial head of state. Prime ministers are the head of government. Beside the ceremonial connection, there are umbilical connections to the British judiciary system. The final court of appeal for Jamaicans is Britain's Privy Council.

According to Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, Simpson Miller, said, "I love the Queen. She is a beautiful lady, and apart from being a beautiful lady, a wise lady and a wonderful lady." Then, the Prime Minister added in patois, "But I think time come."

She called for an indigenous president to be elected as head of state.

There is a cross party consensus on cutting the last ties to Britain. Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding of the Labour Party said last year, "I have long believed that if I am to have a queen, it must be a Jamaican queen. I would not wish to see us celebrate 50 years of Independence without completing that part of our 'sovereignization', for want of a better word."