Wed | Aug 23, 2017

'I am resolute' - Jackson says bill on bank fees suffered setback but not dead

Published:Tuesday | July 11, 2017 | 7:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Fitz Jackson

Member of Parliament for St Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, is making it clear that he has not retreated on plans to retable a controversial bill to amend the Banking Services Act, noting that he is "resolute and no effort at frustration is going to deter me".

Jackson told The Gleaner yesterday that he will speak to the matter in Parliament today, following extended delays in trying to get the bill redrafted.

The opposition MP said for more than a month now, he has been trying to get the legislative counsel of Parliament, Camika Facey, to complete the bill, but the Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke, has allegedly assigned her other tasks.

The proposed legislation is intended to address the exorbitant bank fees, which have been the subject of extensive national debate.

According to Jackson, many persons have been bombarding him about the issue, but he has advised them that he is committed to have the bill debated in Parliament.

Jackson said credit must be given to former prime minister Bruce Golding, who established the post of legislative counsel in Parliament.

According to him, when the post was introduced, Golding indicated that parliamentarians did not have any lawyer available to help them prepare motions or bills, while ministers of government have the benefit of seeking advice from attorneys in their ministries, as well as from the attorney general.

 

ADVISING BACKBENCHERS

 

Jackson is of the view that the primary duty of the legislative counsel, when the post was first established, was to provide advice to members of parliament who were not government ministers.

On May 9, this year, Jackson withdrew the bill to amend the Banking Services Act, complaining that the legislative measure had suffered undue delays before being debated.

He moved a motion for the bill to be withdrawn, but the MP said he would reintroduce the proposed law with amendments, reflecting recommendations made by various stakeholders, including the banking sector and financial commentators.

He signalled at the time that the bill would be retabled before the end of May.