KINGSTON — A censure motion against Opposition Member of Parliament, Dr. Peter Phillips (East Central St. Andrew), was withdrawn by the Government during Tuesday’s (June 21) sitting of the House of Representatives.
The motion was withdrawn by Member of Parliament for North East St. Catherine, Gregory Mair.
Mr. Mair’s motion sought to censure Dr. Phillips, the Minister of National Security in the previous Government, for failing to seek the endorsement, or approval, of the then Prime Minister and/or the then Cabinet to commit the Government to an agreement with a foreign state, “that was of great consequence to our people and infringed their constitutional rights as citizens of Jamaica”.
The motion had asked that Dr.Phillips be censured for those actions and that all Members of the Cabinet, upon demitting office as a consequence of a change of administration or otherwise, should give, under oath, a statement on all matters of critical importance to the nation concerning their office to the incoming Minister and, by extension, to the Prime Minister.
He explained that he tabled the motion as Dr. Phillips had breached the fundamental rights and freedoms of Jamaicans, by signing the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) without the knowledge of the former cabinet. However, he said he was withdrawing it, because the matter had been addressed by the Commission of Enquiry into Christopher Coke’s extradition issue.
“This has been found so in the report tabled in the (Lower House) on the recent Commission of Enquiry, and (it) has been confirmed to be unconstitutional. I therefore find at this time no reason to pursue this matter,” Mr. Mair said.
The MOUs were signed in 2004 between Jamaica, the United States of America and England. They dealt specifically with narco-trafficking, gun-running, money laundering and violent crimes associated with such offences.
Dr. Phillips, in his then capacity of Minister of National Security did not seek the endorsement, or approval, of the then Prime Minister and/or the Cabinet to commit the Government to the agreement.
Mr. Mairs’ motion was scheduled for debate in the House on Tuesday.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter