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Donna Scott Mottley, Press Releases, Sen Donna Scott-Mottley

Kingston, Jamaica, November 29, 2017: Opposition Spokesman on Justice, Senator Donna Scott-Mottley supports the call by the Jamaica Bar Association for the establishment of a new merit based process for the selection of Jamaica’s Next Chief Justice.

 

In order to get the best and most appropriate person for this very important position, we are recommending that the post should be advertised in Jamaica and overseas.

 

In keeping with principle of judicial independence, it is expected that all applicants must meet the basic criteria of integrity, experience, and scholarship.  It is of prime importance not only for the protection of the citizen but also for the retention of public confidence in the Justice System. Consequently, the process for the selection of Jamaica’s Chief Justice ought to be at an arm’s length from both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

 

Recommended Procedure

The Commonwealth Principles of Accountability and Transparency of the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government, compels the Government of Jamaica to adopt the suggestion that a new procedure for Jamaica’s next Chief Justice should be established immediately.  This can be done without altering the Constitutional requirement that the Governor General shall appoint the Chief Justice upon the advice of the Prime Minister following consultation with Leader of the Opposition.

 

Senator Scott-Mottley points out that in other jurisdictions such as England and Wales, it was found necessary to ensure that the Executive did not possess the sole power to effect the appointment of the Chief Justice. In England and Wales, the appointment of the Lord Chief Justice is made by Her Majesty The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. This decision is subject to the recommendation of a special independent panel chaired by the Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission and subject to England’s Constitutional Reform Act 2005 as amended by the Crime and Courts Act 2013.  This Act prescribes the Selection Criteria & Procedure of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

 

In addition, (as per Section 10(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 of England & Wales) the selection exercise for the Lord Chief Justice is open to all applicants who satisfy the judicial appointment eligibility condition or those who were judges of England’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeal or High Court.

 

It is therefore proposed that the recommendations by the Jamaica Bar Association be immediately undertaken and that the following actions be executed by the Government of Jamaica:

  1. The Government of Jamaica should advertise the post of Chief Justice of Jamaica.
  2. The Government of Jamaica establish an Independent Judicial Appointments Commission  to vet and make recommendations of three applicants for consideration to be appointed to the office of Chief Justice;
  3. That the vacancy for Chief Justice be advertised to the public for the submission of applications to the relevant body by January 15, 2018.
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Donna Scott Mottley, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, November 12, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) notes with alarm and dismay the blatant breach of trust by the Andrew Holness led administration regarding the much discussed National Identity Systems Bill.

The PNP notes in particular clause 41 which provides that Jamaicans will not be able to access public services without having their National Identification. 

The Party is shocked and disappointed at the action of the government to deny Jamaicans access to essential services on any account. 

By way of bi-partisan agreement in the Lower House, it was also accepted that persons without identification would not be denied access to essential services such as health, water, fire services, police services etc.


Having left the Lower House with this agreed position by Government and Opposition, the Government is seeking to change this provision and replace it with one that is less secured.

The Opposition decries the back door action of the Government and the way in which it has treated this Bill. This represents a betrayal of the trust placed in it and does nothing to foster confidence and bi partisan collaboration.

We therefore call on the government to stop, rethink and do not change the provision.  We further again call on the government to consult in a real and meaningful way, enlist the views of Jamaicans before using its majority to pass this far reaching and unreasonable bill.

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