Smoke billows over the Tivoli Gardens community in Kingston May 24, 2010, after police clashed with gunmen in the Kingston slum as they sought to capture alleged drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke. (Photo: REUTERS/Andrew P. Smith/Landov)
Jamaica is set to mark 49 years of independence from the United Kingdom in August, but could some citizens be yearning for the good ole days of colonial rule?
That’s what a recent Jamaican Gleaner poll suggests. Of the 1,008 people surveyed across the island, 60 percent of those believed that the country would actually be better off if it were still under British rule. Seventeen percent said the nation would be worse off and 23 percent said they didn’t know.
The poll was conducted on May 28 and 29 and June 4 and 5.
While no explicit reasons behind the poll responses are given, it’s probably safe to assume the nation’s crime problems as well its current elevated poverty crisis could be factors in the respondents’ answers.
And while the nation has improved its standing in the most recent Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (moving up from number 99 to number 87), more Jamaicans (26 percent) believe that the current ruling political party, Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s Jamaica Labour Party, is more corrupt than the former People’s National Party administration, according to another recent Gleaner poll.
In other news, Golding recently set forth a proposal to completely rid the island nation of monarchy rule by next year’s 50th anniversary independence celebrations.
Though the nation gained independence in 1962, Queen Elizabeth still serves as the country’s chief of state, and the governor general—Dr. Patrick L. Allen—is appointed by the monarch on recommendation from the prime minister.
"I have long believed that if I am to have a queen, it must be a Jamaican queen,” Golding said in front of lawmakers. “I would not wish to see us celebrate 50 years of independence without completing that part of our 'sovereignisation', for want of a better word.”
They agreed to replace the queen before next August’s celebrations, which would move the nation from its current Westminster system—a democratic parliamentary government modeled after the politics of the United Kingdom—to become a republic.