As we celebrate 57 years of political Independence let us reflect on the many challenges which our forefathers overcame so we can now celebrate this new found prosperity. It is only coincidental that the word “prosperity” happens to be similar to the slogan used by the Jamaica Labour Party since 2016 as part of it’s very successful political campaign that booted the People’s National Party (PNP) from office. It was a narrow win, yet a win nonetheless.
Emancipation proceeded independence. Emancipation was in 1834 and Independence was in 1962. During this period there were upheavals for example: The Tacky Rebellion and the Morant Bay War of 1865. Both events saw improvements for the masses and propelled them forward closer to 1962 when we were granted full Independence from Britain. After then we ceased to be a colony of the British Empire. We still have vestiges of our colonial era/past.
We no longer have a British Governor but instead have a local Governor referred to as the Governor-General who resides at King’s House.
We have opted to retain the queen as head of State. Though our GG … since we are a member of the Commonwealth. Canada and many other former colonies have gone that route. Trinidad & Tobago opted out and became a Republic instead so did the USA to name a few former colonies. They have a President as Head of State. In Jamaica we continue to keep the Privy Council as our final appellate court. Trinidad & Tobago although a Republic still uses the UK based Privy Council as its final appellate court and so have other territories. Some former British Caribbean territories have latched onto the CCJ as their final appellate court.
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
We have set up our own final appellate court but Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago have not fully embraced this court for final appellate matters. It is used for the settlement of Treaty and Trade related disputes intraregional. Jamaica settled the Myrie Immigration dispute through the CCJ.
We salute those who fought and gave their lives so we can now celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1 annually. Also Independence Day August 6, 1962.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist and Senior International Correspondent for Vision Newspaper Canada.