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PJ Patterson unhappy with pace of change

Patterson224ROUND HILL, Jamaica--Former Prime Minister of Jamaica PJ Patterson has registered his disappointment that after nearly two decades of dialogue, Jamaica is yet to make the transition from a Monarchical form of government to a Republican form, even as the nation celebrates its Jubilee Year.

"We have had consultations now for nearly 20 years about the move from a monarchy to establishing a Republic where we chose as the head of state somebody who is an embodiment of the highest achievement of our country," Patterson noted.

"It is all there in parliamentary reports. Let's move on and let's not get in any absurd political arguments or deliberate distortions why we are doing it and what is being said as the justification for doing it," Patterson said.

Patterson, who served as Jamaica's prime minister for 14 consecutive years, also said that as Jamaica celebrate its 50th anniversary of Independence, "we must take another step of the journey" to move away from the United Kingdom-based Privy Council as the final court of appeal.

"I believe that Norman Manley is turning in his grave to know that 50 years after, our final court of appeal is still the Privy Council," Patterson said.

Patterson argued that whether or not Jamaica uses the CCJ as its final court of appeal, we have "already paid for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in full.

"What's the impediment?" he asked.

Patterson was honoured by the People's National Party's (PNP's) Region Six for his exemplary service and achievement to his party, Jamaica and the Caribbean, during a well-attended banquet held Saturday evening at the Round Hill Hotel, Hanover.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in bringing greetings, hailed Patterson as a "master strategist and exemplary leader". She also lauded her predecessor for his outstanding contribution towards the improvement of the island's infrastructure during his over decade old tenure at the helm of the country.

"The Jamaican infrastructure landscape is dotted with your fingerprint PJ and you have a lasting legacy as the infrastructure prime minister," Simpson Miller said of Patterson who holds the record for occupying Jamaica House for the longest period.

"PJ's 14-year stay at Jamaica House is the longest so far in Jamaica's history. His contribution to Jamaica and the People's National Party is distinguished not only by longevity, PJ's tenure is one of unquestionable integrity, commitment and quality," she said.

Simpson Miller's St Lucian counterpart Dr Kenny Anthony, who was guest speaker at the event, described Patterson as a "quintessential regionalist."

"And so among his many accolades, the most deserving might be a tribute to go to him to his unswerving commitment to the regional integration process," Anthony said of Patterson.

"PJ, I may not have the authority to thank you and Jamaica for the entire Caricom (Caribbean Community), but I do so, on behalf of my own country," Anthony said.

(Jamaica Observer)

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