KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 11, 2017: The People’s National Party’s (PNP) President, Dr. Peter Phillips says, the midnight amendments to the National Identification System Bill, which were introduced in a marathon session in the Senate on Friday further underscores the need for the Bill to be sent before a Joint Select Committee where all the contentious issues can be hammered out.
Dr. Phillips, who had urged the government during the debate in the lower house to send the Bill to a select committee when it was first piloted, says he stands with the Opposition Senators and the many Jamaicans from churches and civic organisations who raised their voices in protection of the rights of the people.
Senator KD. Knight led the Opposition team on insisting that public consultations need to be held prior to any passage and signing-off of the Bill.
Other Opposition Senators were forthright in their stance that the speed and process to the passing of this Bill, which will require every Jamaica to surrender so much personal information, was not in the best interest of Parliamentary democracy, nor the interest of all Jamaicans.
Senator Floyd Morris, who was unable to peruse the amendments presented to the House yesterday morning as he needed the document to be converted to a format that he could access, was insulted by the leader of government business, Senator, the Hon. Kamina Johnston-Smith.
Dr. Phillips says, Senator Johnson-Smith’s response sums up the general disregard that the government has displayed towards the nation’s vulnerable communities.
The need for government to take into account the realities of the disabled is a critical one, Dr Phillips outlined in a meeting he had with the Disabled community in July, while on his Listening Tour.
“Senator Johnston-Smith needs to step forward and not only apologize, but also to clearly assure Jamaicans with disabilities that they are not second-class citizens in their own country. “
The debate continues Monday.