JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the government has sought legal advice on the implementation of a fixed date for the holding of general elections and expects a response from the Attorney General within another three weeks. He was responding to a question raised by Member of Parliament for Central Kingston Mr. Ronald Thwaites in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 17). The Member wanted to know when the promise of a fixed date would be fulfilled.
Mr. Golding said the information received so far suggests that a fixed date could not be implemented without a referendum on Sections 64/2 and 65/2 of the Jamaican Constitution, as both were deeply entrenched. He said while sections 64/1 and 65/1 could be amended in Parliament, in keeping with a previous UK Privy Council ruling, such an amendment may be considered unconstitutional if it affects other sections that are deeply entrenched.
Mr. Golding said the government remained committed to having a fixed election date and would continue discussions with the Opposition on the matter. He said legislation to the effect would be brought to Parliament and the government would seek the support of the Opposition for a two-thirds majority if this was required.
Section 64/1 states that the Governor-General may, at any time, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, prorogue or dissolve Parliament, while section 65/1 speaks to the holding of general elections within three months of the dissolution of Parliament.
Sections 64/2 states that unless sooner dissolved, Parliament shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution, after which it shall then stand dissolved. Section 65/2 on the other hand provides for the appointment of Senators by the Governor-General after every general election, in accordance with Section 35 of the Jamaican Constitution.