Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Parliament's no court, Mr Thwaites

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I wish to advise the former minister of education, Ronald Thwaites, and other like-minded politicians, that the Parliament of Jamaica is not the "highest court in the land". In fact, I wish to further advise that neither our parliament nor any other parliament is a court at all.

The parliament is a legislative body that convenes to debate, formulate and write laws of the land, with input from representatives of each constituency, whose job it is to bring the views and concerns of the people to the parliament for debate, and create laws for the ethical, orderly and fair operation of activities within the boundaries of it.

Laws are meant to protect, enable and empower all citizens. This way, all points of view are represented, and the rights of everyone is respected, given a hearing and included in deliberations to make laws.

A court's function is to interpret laws, and hand down sentences based on those same laws, not write them.

IN BETTER HANDS

It is becoming increasingly clear that Jamaica's politicians would like us to believe their election is an appointment for them to interpret laws and hand down sentences, clearly a holdover from the days of imperial and colonial rule.

Those who have inhabited the House of Representatives since the days of the House of Assembly have forgotten, or are ignorant of, the job description that runs with being an MP.

Perhaps the future of the country will be in better hands when politicians recognise that the people and resources of this country do not belong to them, and they are there to serve those who elected them to be their representatives.

So I ask Mr Thwaites, and all those who share this illogical and misleading thought that Parliament is a court, to disavow themselves of the notion and get on with the job of nation building.

All decisions in parliament must be informed by input from the people. The political reality in Jamaica is that most representatives have no idea about our circumstances, or what we have to do to survive in Jamaica. They don't live in the communities they represent, don't shop at the same stores, don't send their children to the same schools, or drive on the same roads as we do.

So I will reiterate, politicians are there to ACT on the direction of the people who elected them to serve, not pamper themselves with ceremonial platitudes.

HUGH M. DUNBAR

e-hmdenergy@gmail.com

Jamaica, New York, 11434