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Urgent constitutional changes needed

Monday, November 06, 2017

Dear Editor,

The political noise over Dr Shane Alexis's candidacy in the recently held by-election in St Mary has brought to the fore once again the need to make change(s) that will bring further clarity and fill loopholes in our constitution.

Each election cycle we go through the same thing, about who is eligible and who ought to be eligible to be elected to serve in our Parliament. And the views vary.

Dr Alexis, by our constitution, is eligible to be so elected, but we still peddle misinformation on the grey area giving rise to ambiguity.

Our lawmakers have failed the nation by not amending the constitution to make clear, once and for all, who are, or should be, eligible to be a Member of Parliament, prime minister, or hold certain offices in our country. Why wait for a court to decide who is eligible to fulfil all the requirements to be elected office holders.

A discussion with the aim of amending the constitution to make clear who we wish to serve in these capacities of national importance should be most urgent. The same holds true of who can be a justice of the peace.

We have outstanding 'honourable men and women', citizens of our country, who want to serve as justices of the peace but cannot do so because the court says a Jamaican with dual citizenship cannot serve in certain roles. This clearly makes no sense in today's Jamaica. All while the justice minister appeals specifically for more justices of the peace.

As I see it, our lawmakers — except for Fitz Jackson — clearly are not doing enough, are not being held accountable, or frankly don't know their duties as lawmakers.

Who in our Parliament will introduce a Bill to make needed change to our constitution?

History will be kind to Fitz Jackson.

 

Authnel S Reid

reidaut@icloud.com



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