Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Introduce PM's Question Time in Jamaica

Published:Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I have been reading up on British parliamentary procedures for some time now and I have always been interested by the similarities and stunned at the differences.

One such difference is Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs). Every Wednesday, at 12 p.m. in the House of Representatives, the speaker of the House hosts a session where every member of parliament has the opportunity to pose various questions to the prime minister. The prime minister is obligated to answer the questions posed to him/her during this session.

The Prime Minister's Question Time would be a very good opportunity to get an answer to a question that any member of parliament might have regarding any issue, or one relating to an issue that has already been brought up. It would be good for extra clarification on something that may be unclear. This would promote transparency within the Parliament, as well as central Government. This will go a long way towards improving the image of government to many Jamaicans. This will allow for Jamaicans to believe their MPs are looking out for their best interests.

Under the session rules, the opposition leader is allowed six questions to the prime minister. This, I believe, will cut through the noise and the political rhetoric that has so many Jamaicans tired of the non-resolution of core problems facing them. This will allow us to examine clearly if the Opposition truly has solutions to the problems or are they just opposing just for opposing sake.

Most important, it provides the Opposition with the opportunity to show Jamaicans that they can effectively run a government with the policies they propose in the House, as well as the questions that they ask the prime minister.

The prime minister and, by extension, the Government will benefit from the question-time session. This is the opportunity for the Government to present positions on the issues currently before it. They can use this time to prove to the Jamaican people why they were voted into power and why they should remain in government.

Last, the prime minister's questions provide accountability.

In Jamaica's history, where accountability of our leaders and policymakers is lacking, this is a great way to restore faith.