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JAMAICA | Opposition Going to court over constitutionality of States of Emergency

Featured PNP president and Opposition leader Dr. Peter Phillips PNP president and Opposition leader Dr. Peter Phillips
KINGSTON, July 28, 2019 -  Peop[les National Party President and Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has announced that the Parliamentary Opposition will be filing legal action before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the government's continued use of the States of Emergency as a normal crime-fighting tool.

Speaking at the end of the two-day meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC), Dr Phillips argued that the State of Emergency was not designed to be used for crime control.

“We have also said that we believe that there should be a testing in the courts of the opposition , that States of Emergency were not intended to be a crime control measure, outside of some insurrection  or some direct challenge to constitutional laws and our legal team is looking at that to see what is the best way to cause the courts to make a determination,” the opposition leader said. 

On the weekend, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck said the courts would have a difficulty in ruling that the States of Emergency being used as an ongoing crime-fighting tool are unconstitutional.

He believes the courts would have great difficulty because the majority of the Members of Parliament, including those on the Opposition side, have been voting in favour of their extension.

However, Opposition senator Donna Scott Mottley has rejected Minister Delroy Chuck's assertion that a challenge of the states of  emergency would fail in the courts because the Opposition supported their extension in the Parliament.

Senator Scott Mottley dismissed Mr. Chuck's assessment as misguided.

She said the opposition had always made it clear it had concerns about the constitutionality of  the use of  states of  emergency in the way being done by the government, and only supported these measures  because the government presented no other plan for fighting crime.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has suggested the government could continue to use states of  emergency to suppress crime for another five to seven years.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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