PM Outlines Legislative Agenda


Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said that legislation relating to fixed term limits for Prime Ministers, the setting of election dates and dealing with corruption among elected officials would be among matters to be dealt with during this legislative year.
Addressing journalists at his administration’s first post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House on September 17, Mr. Golding reiterated that he was committed to removing the power of the Prime Minister to call elections at a time that “suits” him or her.
Instead, he would be moving to incorporate fixed election dates within the country’s legislation. “Even if we are not able, without the support of the Opposition.to name a fixed election date, we know that we are able to remove that power, and therefore put in its place or leave in its place a requirement that the elections be held within a finite election period,” Mr. Golding said.
Turning to the issue of term limits, the Prime Minister said his administration “intends to proceed with the appropriate legislation to be brought to Parliament for Parliament to consider.”
“There is also the question of the establishment of a Special Prosecutor to deal with issues of corruption in public life. That was a commitment we gave, that is a commitment to which we are as wedded today as we were prior to the election,” he said.
The Prime Minister also noted that he would be convening another meeting this week with representatives from the Attorney General’s Department, the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and other relevant Ministries to look at any other additions that his administration would want to make to the legislation programme for this year.
“We have also asked the Cabinet Secretary to prepare for us for next week, a schedule indicating those aspects of the previous administration’s legislative programme which have already been approved and acted upon by Parliament; those which may have been approved by Cabinet and submitted to Parliament, but which may not have been disposed of by Parliament, and to indicate those that have not yet been brought to Cabinet for approval,” he informed.
Mr. Golding said that he has also asked portfolio Ministers to examine those submissions that have not yet been to Cabinet and “to see whether or not there are any changes that we may want to make, based on the fact that we may have a different policy position, but to bring those to Cabinet with the appropriate recommendations, whether for amendments to be made or for endorsement as they have been prepared, so that we can get those to Parliament as quickly as possible.”
In addition, the Prime Minister said the administration would be looking into establishing the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) as an independent central bank and amending the Contractor General’s Act to criminalize breaches of the contract award procedure. Also participating in the press briefing were: Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Warren Newby.

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