Fri | Dec 2, 2016

It's Jamaica's Interpretation Act that applies

Published:Wednesday | February 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I thank the great Dr Lloyd Barnett for his contribution to the current constitutional debate.

We'll have to agree to disagree, but I suspect our disagreement is purely philosophical:

1. I reject any construction of my nation's Constitution that concludes I must look to a UK Statute of 1889 to tell me what Jamaica's Constitution means in 2015.

2. I'll come to a different result by any means necessary.

3. In paraphrasing the Constitution [Section 1(12)], Dr Barnett may have given an incomplete impression. The actual words are: "The Interpretation Act, 1889 as in force on the appointed day, shall apply, with the necessary adaptations, for the purpose of interpreting this Constitution ... ."

4. The words "with the necessary adaptations" mean to me more than simply altering 'England' to 'Jamaica' as necessary but also allows me to say the framers were foreshadowing a time when an independent nation would have its own Interpretation Act as we did in 1968.

Accordingly, I maintain it's Jamaica's Interpretation Act that applies and not some dusty colonial statute passed in 1889 by people who knew not Jamaica.

GORDON ROBINSON

Attorney-at-Law