Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Trusts bill passed after controversial clause amended

Published:Saturday | June 22, 2019 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer
Brown

A clause in the Trusts Bill with which Opposition Senator Lambert Brown took issue last week was amended at yesterday’s sitting of the Senate.

Brown had raised concern over a clause in the bill that defined personal relationships as “every form of relationship by blood, adoption, marriage, or cohabitation regardless of whether the law of any jurisdiction recognises the validity, the legitimacy, or existence of the relationship”.

He argued that the clause could give credence to homosexual practices in Jamaica.

The words “to the extent that such relationship is recognised by the laws of Jamaica” have been inserted after the word ‘cohabitation’, but Brown has still found the latter part of the clause to be problematic.

“Is that being kept in this, and what is the meaning of that in the context of the amendment that we are minded to agree on?” Brown asked.

Responding to the concern, leader of government business in the Senate Kamina Johnson Smith said that the rest of it remained the same.

“Remember, ... this act provides for trusts that are not only developed here, but are developed elsewhere. The point is that no trust enforced in Jamaica will be enforced against the laws of Jamaica as I was explaining earlier,” said Johnson Smith.

But Brown was not satisfied with this explanation.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

“I don’t like the clause as it is because I still believe the Government is promoting same-sex arrangements,” he said. “The clause does not address the polygamous element.”

The opposition senator last week also said that the law was promoting polygamy through a clause which states that “a former personal relationship which has terminated in law or in fact, and a personal relationship also exists between two persons if a personal relationship exists between each of them and a third person”.

Johnson Smith said that there are provisions in the bill to treat with issues of constitutionality.

“It ensures that even if the laws of another jurisdiction do not recognise personal relationships permitted under the laws of Jamaica, the laws of Jamaica must prevail. So the ... act, as it is, does not trigger, or should not trigger, the fears that have been expressed,” she said.

The bill was passed into law with six amendments.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com