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House to sit for the final time today before elections

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2016 | 9:50 AM

The current House of Representatives will sit for the last time this afternoon.

The parliament is to be dissolved on Friday ahead of the holding of general elections on February 25.

However, the current parliament is leaving several important matters unfinished.


Debbie-Ann Wright reports

At the top of the list of unfinished business are the three bills to adopt the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica’s final court.

The Portia Simpson Miller-led administration had been hoping it would be the one to pilot Jamaica’s move from the Privy Council to the regional court.

While the bills to have this happen were passed in the House of Representatives, they hit an expected snag in the Senate, where the cooperation of at least one opposition senator was needed to approve it.

The bills have been debated, however, the Government has had to give in to a suggestion for a bi-partisan committee to work out a negotiated way forward.

In recent times, the Government has also brought to the parliament three important bills, which could change the way women and children, in particular are treated.

They are the Sexual Harassment Bill; An Act to Amend the Child Care and protection Act, and an Act to Amend the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act.

However, these bills will now be the responsibility of the new legislature.
The current members of the House of Representatives will end their four-year run debating the Judicature (Resident Magistrates) (Amendment and Change of Name) Act, 2015 and the Judicature (Supreme Court) (Amendment) Act, 2015.

The Agriculture Minister is also expected to answer questions related to Jamaica’s agro-parks, while the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce is to answer questions regarding import licences granted over the past six months.