The optimum kind of president for Jamaica once it converts to a republic is being examined by the Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC).
According to Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, the group is already “leaning” toward a hybrid presidency.
“We’re leaning toward a hybrid presidency, not a ceremonial president; a president who will exercise a set of powers, some ceremonial, some executive,” the minister said during a town hall gathering held by the CRC in Portland on Wednesday.
Malahoo Forte said only, “We’re tailor-making something for the Jamaican people,” declining to elaborate.
Earlier this year, the committee came to an agreement to recommend the creation of the Office of the President of the Republic of Jamaica as the country’s new head of state, taking the place of the British monarch and his or her representative, the governor general.
The committee’s unanimous recommendation to do away with the current constitutional monarchy form of governance was followed by that proposal.
According to Malahoo Forte earlier this year, the CRC has also reached agreement on how the president will be chosen: “the nomination of the prime minister, after consultation with the leader of the Opposition, to be confirmed in the Parliament.”
Since the current office of deputy prime minister is not recognized by the Jamaican Constitution, the minister stated on Wednesday that the ongoing constitutional reform process may also take that into consideration.
When asked if the office of deputy prime minister was included in the constitution, People’s National Party (PNP) Councillor Collin Bell of Portland’s Fellowship Division prompted her to make that specific admission.
The position of deputy prime minister is not one that is defined under the constitution. Although many administrations lack it, deputy prime ministers have historically been appointed on occasion, according to Malahoo Forte.
In light of this, she said, “one of the questions we may need to address is whether we move to formalize a deputy head of government within our constitutional arrangements.”
According to the minister, having a deputy prime minister in the role is not unconstitutional even though the job is not mentioned in the constitution.