Malahoo Forte uncomfortable with UK visa need

November 01, 2022
Marlene Malahoo Forte
Marlene Malahoo Forte

Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Marlene Malahoo Forte says it is "most unfortunate" that even the governor general of Jamaica requires a visa to travel to England.

Malahoo Forte, who, among other things, is in charge of putting together the legal framework for Jamaica to sever ties with England and become a republic, said the need for a visa to travel to the UK does not "sit nicely with our people".

Britain recently announced that Guyanese citizens will be able to visit for up to six months without a visa. It joins a list of Caribbean countries, including Antigua, Barbados, St Vincent, St Kitts, St Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Grenada whose nationals do not require visas to travel to the UK.

Minister Malahoo Forte, who was speaking in a recent interview with SBS TV Australia, outlined the steps to be taken for Jamaica to replace the King as the country's head of state. She noted that under Jamaica's constitutional arrangements, a referendum is needed. For Jamaica to become a republic, the proposal will need the support of a majority of voters in a referendum

Malahoo Forte said while she hopes the referendum will succeed, she knows the views are divided.

"I think the question for many people is, how will it change my lot in life? Right now, the United Kingdom (UK) does not interfere in the local affairs of Jamaica, but I know many take umbrage to the fact that they need a visa to go to England, where their head of state resides. Some, including myself, find it most unfortunate that even the monarch's local representative, the governor general, requires a visa to travel to the UK," she said.

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