RESOLUTION – National Identification and Registration System Bill
WHEREAS the JLP Members of Parliament led by the Speaker of the House and Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday November 22, 2017 committed egregious breaches of Parliamentary standing orders, rules and practices by:
- Failing or refusing to allow a debate and vote on a motion presented by the Prime Minister to defer consideration of the National Identification and Registration System Bill (the Bill)
- Failing or refusing to allow a debate and vote on a motion presented by the Leader of the Opposition for the Bill to be referred to a Joint Committee of Parliament
- Resuming the sitting of the House two hours after a suspension instead of at the end of the stipulated 20 minute suspension period as required
WHEREAS this development represented the government’s continued refusal to allow the Bill to face the full scrutiny of the public and the views of key civil society groupings, including the Jamaican Bar Association, who have formally indicated their desire to participate in the formulation of such a far-reaching Bill
WHEREAS the government in total disregard for the primacy of the people in making good and just laws proceeded to purportedly pass the Bill in the above circumstances
WHEREAS the People’s National Party is supportive of and have previously led efforts to advance the process for a national identification system but does not support the Bill in its current form as it still requires further refining because:
- It encroaches on the rights and privacy of every single Jamaican and gives no assurance that this data will be protected
- With the Bill raising issues concerning data security, its protection and how it is shared, it was of critical importance that the Data Protection Act ought to have been debated before or at the same time
- It calls for mandatory registration with a huge fine for failure to register, and
- It would deny essential and critical goods and services such as light, water and health to Jamaicans in their own country and in breach of their constitutional rights to equitable treatment
BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
- This NEC commends and supports the Parliamentary Opposition in its strong defence of the rights of the Jamaican people in the debates in the two Houses of Parliament which resulted in 268 amendments to the Bill.
- This NEC condemns the unworthy and unparliamentary behaviour of the JLP in its egregious breaches of Parliamentary standing orders, rules and practices and seeking to pass the Bill in such circumstances.
- This NEC supports the Parliamentary Opposition in the Lower House in its decision not to return to the House to give credibility to the ongoing travesty and after the Speaker in breach of Parliamentary rules failed to re-convene the sitting at the end of the 20 minutes suspension.
- This NEC calls on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to respect the rights of the Jamaican people and make an effort to restore some decency and credibility to the Parliament by returning this deeply flawed Bill to the Parliament before it is signed by the Governor General and referring it to a Joint Parliamentary Committee for review and allow the voice of the people, including civil society groupings to be heard and considered.
Resolution on Public Sector Wage negotiations
Whereas thousands of Public Sector workers including police, teachers, nurses, fire fighters, correctional officers, civil servants are due wage increases since April if this year, and
Whereas these workers have had to bear increases in the prices of goods and services arising from the burdensome tax packages imposed on the citizens of Jamaica by this JLP government, and
Whereas the government has offered a very insultive offer of 3% in each year of the contract period which is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the public sector workers and their families, and
Whereas the workers and their Trade Unions have rejected this insulting offer and in some cases the workers have resorted to industrial action
Be it resolved that this meeting of PNP NEC expresses our solidarity with all public sector workers struggling for a decent wage offer from their employer
Be it further resolved that this NEC calls on the JLP government to find creative and flexible ways to meet the legitimate demands of the hard working and dedicated public sector workers who have sacrificed much to secure economic stability in recent years and
Be it further resolved that this NEC commend the approach of constructive consultation carried out by the previous PNP government which arrived at acceptable wage settlement with the public sector workers and their trade unions whilst preserving public sector jobs.
RESOLUTION – CRIME
WHEREAS the numbers of persons murdered in Jamaica since the start of this year has reached over 1400, representing an increase of over 25% over the same period last year
WHEREAS in the last week alone there have been numerous cases of murders including multiple murders occurring in several parishes across the country – St James, Westmoreland, Hanover, Trelawny, St Ann, Clarendon, St Catherine and St Elizabeth
WHEREAS in the face of this significant and continuing increase in murders, including the killing of several women and children, the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security and the rest of the Cabinet has remained silent, reflecting either an inability or unwillingness to protect the citizens of our Country
BE IT RESOLVED that the NEC of the PNP calls on the government to immediately re-motivate the demoralised men and women of the JCF by urgently:
1) providing a reasonable wage offer capable of resolving the wage dispute between the Jamaica Police Federation and the government; and
2) providing adequate funds to cover legal expenses of courageous crime fighters who are required to appear before INDECOM or the Courts
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the government, as an urgent national priority, provides the necessary funding, material and human resources required by the Commissioner of Police to meet head-on the challenges to our national security and the lives of our citizens caused by the criminal gunmen and gangsters threatening the security and stability of our country
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the government immediately establishes and convenes a committee with broad-based membership comprising representatives of the government, the Opposition, the private sector, the churches, the trade unions, the public sector and the security forces to consider and make recommendations to the government for the creation and operation of a comprehensive and sustainable plan to combat and drastically reduce the unacceptable high level of murders in Jamaica