House to examine regulations for state of emergency
The regulations governing the state of public emergency that was declared in St James last Thursday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness are expected to be tabled in Parliament today, with lawmakers gearing up for a lively debate on the latest developments to tackle the escalating murder rate in the parish and country.
Lawmakers will receive copies of the regulations, setting out in detail the powers given to members of the security forces as they target criminals and their facilitators in St James, which registered a record 335 murders last year.
The parliamentary Opposition has signalled its qualified support for the state of emergency in St James, but indicated that it could not give its full support until it combed through the extensive regulations.
Statements will be made by Holness, Minister of National Security Robert Montague, as well as Justice Minister Delroy Chuck.
Today's sitting is the first since the start of the new calendar year, and the Government will be seeking to complete debate on at least two critical pieces of legislation before the Estimates of Expenditure are tabled in mid-February.
Debate on legislation to establish an agency of government to be known as the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency to investigate and prosecute serious crimes started late last year and is expected to be completed shortly.
At the same time, Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry had said earlier that a new bill on the Road Traffic Act would be tabled this year. It is believed that the current Act to Repeal and Replace the Road Traffic Act, which has been on the order paper from last year, will be withdrawn.
Another critical piece of legislation to be passed into law early this year is An Act to Repeal the Kingston and St Andrew Building Act and the Parish Councils Act to make new provisions for the regulation of the building industry.
It will also facilitate the adoption and efficient application of national building standards to be called the National Building Code of Jamaica, for ensuring safety in the built environment.
This bill was passed by the House of Representatives last year and debate on the proposed law is to continue in the Senate.