Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Parliament files application over senators' status

Published:Monday | February 23, 2015 | 1:17 PMBarbara Gayle Justice Coordinator

The Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke, has filed an application in the Supreme Court asking for a determination on whether Arthur Williams and Dr. Christopher Tufton are still senators.

If the court finds that they are not, she is asking that it pronounces on the status of businessman Dr. Nigel Clarke and Jamaica College principal, Ruel Reid.

A section of the application reads: “Are the two men [Tufton and Williams] subsisting members of the Senate in accordance with the Constitution of Jamaica?

If the answer is yes, were the purported appointment of Clarke and Reid as members of the Senate null and void?

And if the answer is no, were the purported appointment of Clarke and Reid as members of the Senate valid and effective and do they remain members of the Senate in accordance with the Constitution of Jamaica?”

The application was filed this afternoon by attorney-at-law Michael Hylton, QC, on behalf Cooke.

Williams, Tufton, Reid, Clarke and Attorney General Patrick Atkinson have been listed as the defendants.

The application made for declaratory relief under the Constitution is set for hearing next week Tuesday, March 3.

On that day, an application will be made for the Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, to be joined to the matter.

On February 13, the Senate voted to have the Supreme Court make the final determination on which Opposition Senators are duly appointed members of the Upper House.

Dr. Tufton and Williams reclaimed their seats that same day, a week after the Constitutional Court ruled that their removal in 2013 was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Williams had challenged in court a decision of Holness to submit to the Governor General, on his behalf, undated, pre-signed resignation letters.

A similar letter was submitted to remove Tufton.

However, according to today’s application, the judgment did not comment on the present status of the four senators and therefore the members of the Senate are uncertain as to the effect of the judgment on the composition of the Senate”.