In a statement today, both the Leader of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives, Mr. Phillip Paulwell, M.P., and Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Senator Donna Scott Mottley, expressed full backing on behalf of the thirty-seven parliamentarians of Dr. Phillips’ ongoing exchanges with Prime Minister Holness on the extension of the States of Emergency. They asserted that the delay was clearly the fault of the Prime Minister who took 14 days respond to Dr. Phillips’ letter of December 18, 2018.
They are emphasizing that the Parliamentary vote against the continuation of the SOEs was rooted in expert advice from constitutional lawyers, that the request did not meet the required standards set out in the Constitution. Accordingly, they said, the request did not and still does not have the necessary votes in Parliament.
The group said, like the Leader of the Opposition, they too support the view that the discussion about crime management and control needs to be broadened to include other stakeholders, and it was useless to limit it to the extension of SOEs, on which a vote was already taken in the House of Representatives.
The PNP Parliamentary leaders said it was a great pity that the Prime Minister wasted the period between December 18 and December 31, by failing to respond to the Opposition Leader’s letter proposing a meeting to discuss all the issues.
The Prime Minister appears to be intent on public relations gimmicks and painting a picture of non-co-operation by the Opposition when nothing could be further from the truth.
The Parliamentary Group says it remains resolute that its vote on the SOEs must be respected by the Holness Administration, and it will not countenance undue pressure to change its vote when the constitutional legitimacy of the SOEs are at least questionable and adequate security measures can be maintained by using other existing legislation.
The PNP MPs and Senators are adamant that crime fighting strategies must meet both the constitutional and human rights tests to be lawful, effective and sustainable.
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