Friday, November 13, 2015

The CCJ: "the will of the PNP"


  • There has been talk of  behind-the- scenes moves aimed at breaking the deadlock over the three CCJ Bills.
  • A proposed Agreement was to operate on two levels: the Government and the Opposition one one level  and the PNP and JLP on the other.

Deadlock:

The Government wishes the Opposition to support the CCJ Bills by voting in favour of the CCJ Bills, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
The Opposition wishes the issue of whether the Caribbean Court of Justice should replace the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Jamaica's final Court of Appeal to be put to the Jamaican electorate by way of a vote.

Proposed solution:

  1.  More than 50% of Opposition Members in the House of Representatives and more than 50% of the Opposition Senators in the Senate will vote in support of the CCJ Bills in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, respectively.
  2. The question to be put to the electorate: "Are you in favour of the Caribbean Court of Justice replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Jamaica's final Court of Appeal"
  3. The electorate may vote Yes or No to that question.
  4. All parties to the Agreement would  agree "not  to say or do anything, or allow any of its officers or appointed candidates to say or do anything, whether in media advertising, media interviews, public debates, media talk shows, published articles, platform speeches or other public activities..... that might reasonably be perceived to be inconsistent  with a support of a Yes vote.
  5. The Government would " not bring the CCJ Bills into operation by way of publication in the Gazette of a notice in accordance with clause 1 of each of the CCJ Bills unless and until-- (i) the question referred to in paragraph  1(a) has been put to a vote by the electorate in Jamaica, and (ii) votes Yes are cast in that vote by more than 50% of the voters who vote thereon."
  6. In the event of any material breach occurring after the CCJ Bills have been passed by Parliament with the support of at least two-thirds of members of each House, the Government shall be released from any further obligations and the Government may thereafter cause the CCJ Bills to be brought into operation.
Controversy:
The above was brought to the attention of the Senate by the Leader of Opposition Business, Senator Tavares-Finson. However, Government Senators have countered that it was a personal initiative of the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representative, Phillip Paulwell. 

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