Queen Elizabeth II officially turned ninety years old on June 11 this year. She is the only person I know who has two birthdays. Her real one is April 21. Why? I hear it has something to do with June being a nicer month for celebrations, in terms of the weather. It might even be summer in England by then, with a bit of luck. As the Queen’s representative (and Head of State) in Jamaica, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and his wife traveled to London to wish her a happy birthday. No, the Prime Minister is not our Head of State. We have a Queen of Jamaica.
In the Jamaican context the Queen is an obvious choice, besides the fact that there aren’t that many Q-words. She is an ever-present and at the same time ever-distant figure. She beams benevolently (one hopes) from afar on our island, once a jewel in the British colonial crown. What relevance does she have to our 21st century Small Island Developing State? It’s hard to fathom.
The Queen has visited Jamaica six times – the last time was ten years ago, and I honestly remember nothing about it. The first time was in 1953, when she opened the Queen’s Highway on the North coast.
Do you think Jamaica should hold a referendum on whether to say goodbye to the Queen, or not? If so, how would you vote?