Parliament Urged to be Meticulous in Carrying out Lawmaking Task

Photo: JIS Photographer Legislators in the House of Representatives. (File)

Story Highlights

  • Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, has called on parliamentarians to be meticulous in carrying out their lawmaking task, noting that the process is too important for shortcuts.
  • Over the past year, I have picked up too many (gaps) in various pieces of legislation, which could have been corrected through more meticulous and conscientious clause-by-clause review of the Bills,” she pointed out.
  • explained that once Bills are approved by both Houses of Parliament, they are reprinted and vetted by the clerk and staff to the Houses of Parliament, and if no errors are found, they are sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for an interim report.

Attorney General, Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte, has called on parliamentarians to be meticulous in carrying out their lawmaking task, noting that the process is too important for shortcuts.

She said it is of “utmost importance” for Parliament to ensure that the intention of the legislation is clear before the Court does the interpretation.

“Over the past year, I have picked up too many (gaps) in various pieces of legislation, which could have been corrected through more meticulous and conscientious clause-by-clause review of the Bills,” she pointed out.

“Let us not view our lawmaking task as too laborious, and, consequently ‘shortcut’ the process. Good laws will make better laws and bad laws will certainly
make worse laws,” she added.

Mrs. Malahoo Forte was making her contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 17).

She noted that amending existing legislation and passing new ones entails rigorous work by the Parliament, staff at the Attorney General’s Chambers, and the Office of the Governor-General.

She explained that once Bills are approved by both Houses of Parliament, they are reprinted and vetted by the clerk and staff to the Houses of Parliament, and if no errors are found, they are sent to the Attorney General’s Chambers for an interim report.

This is a document signed by the Attorney General, which states that the provisions of the Bill are consistent with the Constitution of Jamaica, Mrs. Malahoo Forte explained.

She said that once the interim report is signed, it is submitted to the Governor-General for his assent of the Bill.

Mrs. Malahoo Forte pointed out that the Governor-General does not assent to a Bill unless the Attorney General certifies that the provisions are in accord with the Constitution of Jamaica. This practice, which developed prior to Independence, continues to this day.

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