Constitutional Form and Civil Society: The Case of Jamaica
16 St. Thomas L. Rev. 423 (2003-2004)
33 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2003
The nation of Jamaica began a new process of considering amendments to its constitution in 19992 Many of the proposals would introduce separation of powers and other similar features of the United States Constitution into the Jamaican constitutional system.
I visited the Norman Manley Law School in Kingston in 1999 as the first law professor in Jamaica on a Fulbright scholarship. While there, I was asked to teach a course in Comparative Constitutional Law, and the proposed constitutional changes sparked lively discussion. During my lectures, I compared Jamaican constitutional arrangements and civic culture with those of the United States. My general view was that the answers lie not in constitutional structures, but in civic culture. Subsequent outbreaks of political violence in Jamaica have only strengthened my convictions in this regard.
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