Thu | Oct 18, 2018

Holness was wrong, rules court in case brought by Williams

Published:Friday | February 6, 2015 | 10:10 AM
Arthur Williams (left) and Andrew Holness - File photos

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Constitutional Court has ruled that leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness, was wrong when he used pre-signed, undated, resignation letters to remove two Opposition Senators from the Upper House.

Holness was represented by attorneys-at-law Georgia Gibson-Henlin and Taneshia Rowe.

The case was brought by former senator Arthur Williams against Holness.

READ: Arthur Williams files injunction against Andrew Holness over Senate seat

Williams has contended that Holness used the letters to axe him from the Upper House because he did not support him in the internal leadership elections in November 2013.

Williams has admitted to crafting the letters before he and other senators were appointed in 2012.

However, he told the court that the letters were only to be submitted to the Governor General if any of the senators departed from the JLP's position of a referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

The Court this morning ruled that Holness' actions were inconsistent with the constitution.

The Constitutional Court comprising, Justice Courtney Daye, Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop and Justice David Batts declared that:

1) The request and procurement of pre-signed and undated letters of resignation and letters of authorisation by the leader of the opposition from persons to be appointed or appointed as senators to the Senate of Jamaica upon his domination inconsistent with the constitution, contrary to public policy, unlawful, and is, accordingly, null and void.

2) That the pre-signed and undated letters of resignation and letters of authorisation, as well as the manner of their use to effect the resignation of Senators (the claimant, in particular) from the senate of Jamaica, are inconsistent with the constitution, contrary to public policy and are, accordingly null and void.

3) Court made no order as to cost.

The Attorney General was an interested party in the proceedings and attorneys-at-law Carlene Larmond, Symone Pearson and Monique Harrison in making submissions relied on a Malaysian case and argued that what Holness did was against public policy.

The court said it also relied on the Malaysian case and found it very useful.

The government needs the support of at least one JLP senator to pass legislation to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ as Jamaica's final court of appeal.

Williams who was represented by attorneys-at-law Dr Lloyd Barnett and Wentworth Charles said "I consider myself as having been vindicated. From day one I made the point that this is not about me personally, it's about our constitutional scheme and structure and I am happy that the Constitutional Court has pronounced on it".

WATCH: Erica's Edge - Who wants to kill Andrew Holness

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