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Williams scolds Malahoo Forte for Senate 'attack'

Published:Friday | November 20, 2015 | 11:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Senator Arthur Williams
Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte
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Opposition Senator Arthur Williams has slammed his colleague, Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, for suggesting that neither he nor Opposition Leader Andrew Holness indicated to her that the signing of undated letters of resignation was a safeguard against any opposition senator who dared to depart from the Jamaica Labour Party's position on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

"Let me say to her quite clearly on this matter: 'Senator, do not prevaricate, do not dissemble'," Williams stated.

Yesterday, after speaking with The Gleaner, Malahoo Forte opted not to provide a public response to Williams' comments.

She was not in attendance at the sitting of the Senate earlier in the day.

In her contribution to the CCJ debate in the Senate on October 22, Malahoo Forte declared: "Well, let me say, Mr President, my conscience has not been seared by any pre-signed letter of resignation; it has not been seared. I did not sell my soul for power as some would put it out there. At no time, Senator Nicholson, at no time, did Mr Holness or anyone else say to me that a condition precedent to my appointment as a senator was a vote against replacing the Privy Council - at no time."

Yesterday, Williams hit back while making his contribution to the debate.

"Through you, Mr President (Floyd Morris), let me say to Senator Malahoo Forte that I regard these remarks as a direct attack on me," he said.

"Let me, through you, Sir (Floyd Morris), remind her that I have said on oath that the reason given to me for the need for undated letters of resignation was in the event that any opposition senator were to appear to depart from the party's position on the CCJ. That is the reason I was given and that is the reason I gave to her," Williams continued.

 

WHY DID SHE SIGN?

 

According to Williams, if Malahoo Forte is saying that she was not given any reason at all for signing, "then she must say why she signed the letter, because sign she did".

He argued that if she was saying that she was not given the CCJ as the reason for signing, but given another reason, then she must declare what is the other reason for which she signed the undated resignation letter.

Further, Williams contended that if Malahoo Forte was saying she did not remember what reason was given, then she must say that she signed the letter but cannot now recall why she signed.

It was Williams who had crafted the

pre-signed letters of resignation on behalf of Holness. The letters were only to be submitted to the governor general if any of the senators departed from the Jamaica Labour Party's position of a referendum on the CCJ.

Both Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton were booted from the Senate in 2013 through the signed, undated resignation letters, which were submitted to the governor general by the opposition leader.

The Constitutional Court ruled earlier this year that Holness acted unconstitutionally when he used undated resignation letters to oust Tufton and Williams from the Senate.

Yesterday, Williams placed on the record of Parliament his apology to the people of Jamaica for his involvement in the letter saga.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com