Mon | Apr 19, 2021

Ministers must be held accountable

Published:Saturday | November 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Ministerial responsibility is a fundamental constitutional principle in the Westminster parliamentary system which the Jamaican constitutional monarchy models. This principle is critical to the parliamentary system, because it ensures the accountability of the Government to the legislature and, ultimately, to the population.

In case of any wrongdoing or mistake, the minister can be called on to take action to correct the situation, to apologise, and even to resign from a Cabinet position.

In recent years, Jamaica has witnessed the resignations of embattled members of the Golding administration, including State Minister Joseph Hibbert in 2009, Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry in 2011, and the prime minister himself in 2011. By their actions, these ministers illustrated that they were personally responsible to the Parliament and the population.

In the case of the most recent embattled minister, Fenton Ferguson, there is sufficient evidence that he has failed the country and, like any other worker who underperforms, should be fired. Merely shifting him from one ministry to another after his many blunders indicates a laissez-faire attitude, and a lack of responsibility and accountability on the part of the prime minister.

Whatever happened to people power? What about Fenton Ferguson's ministerial responsibility? Who will hold Fenton Ferguson accountable? Will there be a commission of enquiry?

The electorate has the power to hold ministers accountable and demand transparency. It is time that we stop the veranda politics and join the transformative movement of making our voices heard.

Fenton, and any other minister who fails to adequately carry out his or her responsibilities, must go!