Thwaites Calls for Permanent Constitutional Commission


Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, has joined the call for the establishment of a permanent Constitutional Commission of Parliament with powers to consult with and co-opt opinion from the general public.
“We need to have a permanent body that is looking at our Constitution at all times,” Mr. Thwaites stated. He was making his contribution to the debate on the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Act yesterday (November 3) in the House of Representatives.
According to Mr. Thwaites, the Charter of Rights will make Jamaicans “freer and learn to be a more responsible set of people.”
“There should be no water in our mouths and no hesitation in our hearts as we support this legislative venture that we have worked so hard for and which so many have sacrificed so much in order to bring about,” Mr. Thwaites said.
The Charter, which will replace Chapter Three of the Jamaican Constitution, has been before Parliament for nearly 17 years.
It provides for the protection of the rights and freedoms of Jamaicans, subject to such measures as are required for state governance in periods of public disaster or emergency, or as are regarded as demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
The Bill also provides for: the protection of life, liberty and the security of the person; freedom of thought, conscience, belief and observance of religious and political doctrines; freedom of expression; the right to seek, distribute or disseminate to any other person, information, opinions and ideas through media; and peaceful assembly and association.
The Bill further seeks to provide for freedom from discrimination, on the grounds of race, social class, colour, religion, gender, and place of origin or political preference.
It makes provision for the protection of property rights; protection from searching of the person; respect for private and family life, and privacy of home and of communication; and the entitlement of every child who is a citizen, to publicly funded education, in a public education institution at the pre-primary and primary levels.

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