JIS News

Government Senator, Professor Trevor Munroe has emphasized that the increase in child murders was a situation that required emergency action.
Senator Munroe who was making his contribution to the 2005/06 State of the Nation Debate in Gordon House yesterday (March 24) said while he did not support capital punishment, he would be prepared to suspend this rule as long as the emergency situation continued to “demand that convicted child killers” be hanged.
“Each of us can and must do better with the driving carefully and more slowly in school zones under the threat of severe sanctions, but when it comes to the slitting of the throat and the shooting of little ones, this is clearly an emergency situation requiring emergency measures,” Senator Munroe told colleagues.
“What is being slaughtered is the future, the nation as a whole suffers,” he pointed out. While pointing out that some 60 children in the one to 14 age group were killed in 2005, Senator Munroe, said the society must determine as a common goal, to cut murders, and in particular the murder of children, by at least half in 2006.
On another matter, while noting the appointment of Local Government, Community Development and Sport Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller as Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister, Senator Munroe said females represented less than 15 per cent of the members of the Houses of Parliament, and that this needed to change.
Senator Munroe said however that global experience suggested that this situation would not change unless the electoral system was changed to some form of proportional representation. As such he said the issue of changing the country’s electoral system to combine constituency and proportional representation needed to be restored centrally on the agenda of constitutional reform.
Regarding workers Senator Munroe said in the interest of reducing vulnerability the incoming administration should advocate for a change in the labour laws to allow non-unionized workers access to the Industrial Disputes Tribunal on the same basis as unionized employees in the dispute resolution process.
On the matter of what he termed the “paralysis and delay in decision making” he said the delay in the signing off and passage into law of the Charter of Rights was one of several examples. Senator Munroe proposed the establishment of a Social Forum, which he said would act as a third chamber incorporating representatives from civil society groups and nongovernmental organizations vested with deliberative powers to debate, discuss and make recommendations on all Bills before they were brought before Parliament.
He said the idea was not a unique one as similar forums with equivalent composition and functions existed in countries such as Scotland and Wales.

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