JAMAICA | " WE ARE MOVING ON"...REALLY? asks AJ Nicholson

JAMAICA  | " WE ARE MOVING ON"...REALLY? asks AJ Nicholson

KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 26, 2022 - At Jamaica's stage of development, with the legal and jurisprudential guidance necessary for our progressive forward movement, a mere two or three petitions annually before our final appeal court constitutes a crisis, and there is no doubt as to the reason for its existence: it is a matter of affordability.

Former Minister of Justice A. J. Nicholson, QCFormer Minister of Justice A. J. Nicholson, QCThere is not a scintilla of evidence coming from the present Administration that there is any concern about this challenge that has forever existed at the apex of one of the branches of government, the judiciary, and which has clearly ripened into a crisis over time.

Prime Minister Holness has been at the helm of another branch of government, the executive, for the past six years and the only signal that he has given concerning this crisis is a proposal that a referendum be held for the voting public to decide whether they wish for the crisis to remain intact.

The danger of the holding of any such unrequired referendum as a proposed solution, which could serve to deepen the crisis in the judiciary branch, would only be worsened by his promise of the inclusion of questions relating to Jamaica moving away from the monarchy and whether the buggery law should remain on the statute books.

There really are two issues for Jamaica to tackle in severing remaining ties to the former colonial power: delinking from the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, an advisory body, since 1833, to their head of state, the Monarch; and moving away from the monarchy to become a republic.

Mr Holness, as head of the executive arm of government and head of the ruling party that forms the government, has it in his power to have the crisis that exists in the co-equal judiciary branch of government solved in short order by a vote in the legislature, as is constitutionally required. He has moved to do no such thing, and there is no sign whatsoever of any such intention.

He has now advised the visiting Royals, who represent the Monarch, that Jamaica will be "moving on" from its attachment to the monarchy, but not a single word to the Jamaican people about taking the constitutional route to remove ourselves from this judicial institution of the former colonial power and, at the same time, quickly move to solve the crisis that exists at the apex of this other branch of government.

Who among us, then, would have any confidence in taking the prime minister seriously in his "moving on" message sent to the Monarch through the visiting Royals, when the unparalleled message that can be sent at this juncture is the tabling of the required bills in Gordon House to sever the link with the Privy Council, among other things, to show to the world that we are, in word and in deed, decidedly moving on? 

AJ NICHOLSON

 

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