Friday, April 18, 2008

Voiding the Budget

(Unedited Version)

The Budget Debate is a critical exercise in outlining the measures by which the Government intends to raise revenue to fund its programmes and the business of the bureaucracy. The bill is ultimately passed by the legislators thereby giving effect to the adage: “No taxation without representation.”

The principle is the rationale why many bills must originate in the Lower House (Parliament) where the people’s representatives have the sole authority to bring matters of taxation.

The Chief Justice of Jamaica has interpreted the Section of the Constitution of Jamaica dealing with those qualified to be elected or appointed to the House of Representatives. The ruling has the effect of deeming those Members of Parliament and Senators holding US passports ineligible to sit in the Parliament of Senate.

This has profound implications for the passage of the Budget as there are numerous Members on both sides of the aisle who are in this offending position.

Profound Questions
  • Can such offending Members morally or legally participate in this exercise, knowing fully well of their dual citizenship status?
  • Will a budget passed with the participation of persons not “fit and proper” to be sitting in the House of Representatives be constitutional?
  • Can those who continue to blatantly violate the Constitution by their very presence avoid legal contamination of any legislation emanating from such a tainted Parliament and Senate?
Cleanse First

Awaiting the Court’s ruling on individuals who as adults applied for and obtained US passports (and they themselves are relying on legal technicalities) cannot be considered appropriate in the Westminster/Whitehall model of government. The offending Members know themselves. The Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition have a duty to know. The contamination cannot be tackled in a piece-meal fashion by holding a number of by-elections at court-determined intervals. Parliament and the Senate must be constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution before any attempt to pass legislation. To do otherwise runs the risk of emanations being declared unconstitutional and void ab initio.


Anonymous said...

What is needed is a General Election. Is the country prepared for such an exercise?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Ashley, I draw your attention to s. 39 and 41 (1) (d) of the Constitution regarding your quible over the matter of Commonwealth Citizens being eligible to be Jamaican Parliamentarians. Maybe you should have the AG bring an action to recover the $20 a day Daryl owes the due to his "breach".