KINGSTON, March 15, 2018 - Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips, has added his voice to the growing chorus of public concern being raised over the sudden resignation of the Director of Elections Orrette Fisher, and his comments regarding the politicization of the ECJ.
In his contribution to the Budget Debate on Thursday afternoon, questioned whether it was Mr. Fisher's insistence on a reverification exercise and the lack of funds from the Government that led to his resignation.
"The recently resigned Director of Elections spoke publicly about the need for a reverification. One must ask the question: Is that why he was abused and thrown out, because he was supportive and insistent on a reverification?" he asked.
"We are going down a dangerous road," the Opposition Leader warned, arguing that this is a threat to democracy.
Dr. Phillips chided the government for what he said is its failure to deal with matters of corruption.
He contended that the $600 million bushing programme as well as the $243 million spent on used cars for the police have not gone down well because in "neither case has the Prime Minister taken action, much less taken the appropriate action."
The Opposition Leader said if he became prime minister, he would use uncollected National Housing Trust (NHT) refunds to undertake a comprehensive transformation of squatter communities across Jamaica.
It’s one of the recommendations coming out of the commission Phillips set up last year to look at how to end landlessness in Jamaica.
Phillips promised islandwide mapping of land to help lower the cost of getting surveys done, and said he would separate the process for subdivision approval and land titling, as part of efforts to make it easier for Jamaicans to get land titles and to access financing.
On the matter of the judiciary, the Opposition Leader recomended that the Judicial Services Commission provide more oversight for the operations of the judiciary.
Dr. Phillips said it had been mooted in a 1993 report on judicial reform that the Judicial Services Commission should be reviewed so that it could perform greater oversight for the standards of performance of judges.
He also hinted it should provide greater scrutiny for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"So we don't disagree when the Prime Minister made his what I would call a wrong move the other day with the probationary appointment of the Chief Justice. We agree with the objective of greater judicial accountability but that is not the way to approach it," he argued.