Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago today for the Caribbean nation’s 60th-anniversary independence celebrations. Both
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago today for the Caribbean nation’s 60th-anniversary independence celebrations.
Both states gained their independence from the UK in 1962 and initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. While Trinidad and Tobago transitioned to a republic in 1976, Jamaica has yet to follow. Both major Jamaican parties support abolishing the monarchy, with Holness declaring in December 2021 that there is “no doubt that Jamaica has to become a republic.” Still, the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party-run government’s lack of action on the issue drew criticism from the opposing People’s National Party.
Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are not major trade partners and other regional leaders will attend the latter’s anniversary celebration, so it’s unlikely the trip will be used to significantly further bilateral relations. As Holness’ visit is largely ceremonial, he may instead use the occasion to eulogize the future that will lie ahead for a Jamaican republic. With most Jamaicans estimated to support the republican transition, the abolition of the monarchy may come within the next three years, especially as Holness looks for tangible accomplishments ahead of the 2025 general elections. As long as Jamaica remains in the Commonwealth, it will probably avoid any diplomatic consequences due to the choice.