Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Andrew's hot water

Published:Tuesday | February 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Frank Phipps
Dr Lloyd Waller
Edward Seaga
Rev Karl Johnson
Shirley Ann Eaton
Donovan Walker

Given the ruling of the Constitutional Court, should Andrew Holness step down as leader of the Jamaica Labour Party?

Dr Lloyd Waller - lecturer in Methodology in the Department of Government at the University of the West Indies, Mona

I don't think that Andrew Holness needs to resign. The leader of the Opposition was clearly acting on legal advice, based on what was happening at the time. The advice was challenged and the action adjudicated in a court of law and turned out not to in his favour. To be asked to resign is a little bit extreme.

Donovan Walker - president of

Jamaican Bar Association

There is no need to call for the man's resignation. He simply needs to tidy it up. The court order does not call for resignation; rather, it calls for steps to be taken to rectify. I am in the process of reading the 84-page-long judgment, but it is my inclination that if Mr Holness has done something that is contrary to the Constitution, he should take steps to immediately comply. In terms of a resignation, on the face of it, it is not necessary. The matter should be dealt with internally and decided by the party. The judgment, therefore, needs to be carefully reviewed by the Jamaica Labour Party and complied with. This means that either reinstatement, or steps taken to rectify mischief so that the conduct is compliant with constitutional requirements. I would sound a warning to both the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party that should this be a practice of both. They need to have a look at what they do and take steps to clean up their act, for I have no reason to believe that it is exclusive to the JLP.

Rev Karl Johnson - general secretary of Jamaica Baptist Union

I wouldn't necessarily call for him to step down as a matter of first response. Certainly, from what I have heard on the report, he has abandoned the path of obfuscation and is taking full responsibility for his action, which should not have been taken in the first place. That, for me, is a good sign for anybody and no lesser than a leader of a major politician to be able to say I have done wrong.

Edward Seaga - former prime minister

This is not a simple matter to just call for the resignation of a leader. You have to look at the implications for the Senate in playing its primary roles as protector of human and political rights of the people. That is its primary role. The Senate must support the Government and reject what is suspect or detrimental to the rights of the people. If you can't depend on it, then you can't guarantee that, then those rights will have to be taken from them (senators) and so the matter must be handled very gently. In the final analysis, you have to look at who can command eight members in the Senate and give full support at all times.

Frank Phipps - attorney-at-law

The leader of the Opposition and the two men involved (Arthur Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton) should consider their positions in light of the judgment. That is far as I am prepared to go.

Shirley Ann Eaton - attorney-at-law

No, he should not resign. What I am gleaning from the issue is that political parties have their own culture and this is typical of the culture of the Jamaica Labour Party that facilitates this style. If that is the case, it may have gone on and on, and the matter may not have reached the court. Where we have a difficulty is that Mr Holnes, as a leader of the JLP, has continued the styles of his predecessors. He doesn't appear to be any different. This is why people would be quick to jump. It is indeed a curious practice and the court has ruled on it. What makes the matter not clear-cut is the claimant being a party to the action. From the point of view of a lawyer, in the final analysis, you do things with good intention and the court determines otherwise, so it's not so egregious that it warrants a resignation.