Jamaica and Britain’s monarchy has had a turbulent history throughout the years, but when Jamaica gained its independence from British rule on Aug. 6, 1962, Jamaicans chose to retain Queen Elizabeth II as its sovereign. However, that role is much different than the one she holds in Britain. The island has a Constitutional monarchy and the Queen isn’t involved in its day-to-day governance.
The Queen’s rule is largely ceremonial in nature. However, she’s represented in Jamaica by a non-partisan Governor-General that she appoints to act on her behalf and is appointed on the advice of Jamaica’s Prime Minister. The following are 12 things that the Queen of England still does for Jamaica through the Governor-General.
1. The Queen sets the date for general elections.
2. Ministers are appointed by the Queen.
3. Through her representative, the monarch gives formal assent to laws passed by Jamaica’s House of Representatives and the Senate prior to those laws taking effect.
4. The Queen performs various public and private functions in Jamaica and on behalf of the country abroad.
5. As the Queen of Jamaica, she has guardianship of foster children known as Crown wards.
6. The Queen confirms awards of the Jamaican honors system.
7. The monarch’s Governor-General has the authority to discipline civil service officers, local government officers and police.
8. Through her representative, she can grant a pardon to those sentenced to death, but must act on the advice of the Jamaican Privy Council.
9. Her Governor-General appoints members of the Services Commissions that decides appointments, disciplinary control, and retirement benefits for public servants.
10. The Governor General, on the Queen’s behalf, appoints and performs the swearing in of the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, cabinet leaders, Attorney-General, Chief Justice, Court of Appeals President, and judiciary members.
11. The monarch supports Jamaican programs and initiatives that fosters development of youth entrepreneurs, crime reduction, youth in agriculture, and blindness prevention.
12. The Queen remains neutral on political matters.
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