At yesterday's Standing Finance Committee meeting, opposition members expressed their disgust at the Government's decision not to include the promised budgetary allocation for reverification of the voters' list in the 2018/2019 budget.
However, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips warned that if the country cannot rely on the assurances given by ministers to Parliament,"we are asking to take the disputes to the streets."
"Parliament is being treated with disrespect. The assurances of ministers are not worth anything, and if the parliamentary democracy cannot work, then something else is going to have to cause good sense to return," Phillips told parliament yesterday.
"We are trespassing on the most dangerous ground," Phillips declared.
Shaw told his colleague parliamentarians that Cabinet had decided to place priority on national security and the rule of law. He indicated that sums had been reallocated to tackle the soaring murder rate and crime problem plaguing the country. Last year, 1,616 Jamaicans were murdered, with St James registering record levels at 335.
"In the subsequent consideration of the realignment of priorities, the minister was superseded by higher authority: the Cabinet of Jamaica," said Shaw in response to questions from the Opposition.
Parliamentary Opposition, was however not satisfied with the explanation which was met with a chorus of objections.
The Opposition became incensed after hearing of the switch in priorities from the promised voters' list reverification exercise to national security matters.
Chairman of the Standing Finance Committee Pearnel Charles Sr that said the Government should have advised the parliamentary opposition about its plans to delay the reverification exercise.
At the same time, MP for St Andrew South East Julian Robinson reminded Shaw that in 2015, he accused the then Government of refusing to carry out a reverification of the voters' list as part of a plot to win an election.
Quoting from a newspaper article, Robinson said that the then opposition spokesman had charged that the voters' list was padded with thousands of people who were either dead or had migrated.
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