Mon | Jun 17, 2019

Phillips willing to meet Holness after urging from Jamaica House

Published:Wednesday | December 19, 2018 | 12:14 AMPaul Clarke

 

Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to meet to discuss issues pertaining to how they can unite in the fight against crime.

Holness wrote to Dr Phillips seeking a meeting between the two before the expiration of the states of public emergency in January 2019.

The parliamentary opposition voted against the extension of the states of emergency in St James, St Catherine North and sections of the Corporate Area.

In a cordially written message, Holness said that having met with several stakeholders, including members of the private sector and civil society, "the overwhelming position expressed is that the Government and Opposition should be united in the fight against crime".

"In the spirit of unity against crime I believe we should meet before this date is expired to discuss your position and identify solutions that could help us see our way to reaching a consensus in support of the extension of the State of Emergency as recommended by the Chief of Defence Staff and the Commissioner of Police," Holness said.

In response, Phillips said that advice from a number of constitutional experts suggested that any attempt to extend the state of emergency in its current circumstances will be "unconstitutional and illegal".

"We have suggested that most of the powers available under the state of emergency are permitted under other legislation, which will allow for the implementation of solutions beyond the usual law enforcement measures," noted Phillips.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com