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Fixed election dates, term limits for PM on legislative agenda for this year

Published:Thursday | April 14, 2016 | 12:05 PM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

The pledge of the Andrew Holness-led administration to introduce legislation for impeachment proceedings to be brought against corrupt public officials and parliamentarians will be pursued this legislative year, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen announced in his Throne Speech a short while ago.

"You cannot legislate morality, but your legislative framework can send a signal as to your sense of morality,"  the GG said.

He said, the government will also introduce legislation this year for fixed election dates and term limits for prime ministers.

A constitution Amendment bill to address the judicial review of the Director of Public Prosecutions will also be introduced in Parliament this year.

Additionally, the government will take a constitutional amendment bill to replace Her Majesty The Queen with a non-executive president as head of state.

"The principles of equality, fairness, natural justice and transparency must be enshrined in our laws and underpin our legislative efforts," he said.

See legislative agenda below as announced by the GG:

*Amendment to the INDECOM Act

*The Arbitration Bill –  which governs  the conduct of domestic and international arbitration in Jamaica.

*A Constitution (Amendment) Bill - to replace Her Majesty the Queen with a Non-Executive President as Head of State.

*A Constitution(Amendment) Bill - to address the judicial review of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

*The Criminal Justice (Plea Negotiations & Agreements) (Amendment) Bill – which provides for reduced sentences on guilty pleas.

*The Dangerous Drugs Act –  where there will be further  amendment to give  full legalisation  for marijuana to be used  for specified purposes.

*Fixed Election Dates – Parliament this year  will  see  legislation to create fixed election dates  and term limits  for the Prime Minister.

*Impeachment Legislation - will provide  for impeachment  proceedings to be brought  against corrupt public officials and Parliamentarians.

*The Integrity Commission Bill - will establish a Single Anti-Corruption Body.

*The Judicature (Resident Magistrate) (Amendment) Bill - will provide a right to appeal by the prosecution against manifestly inadequate sentences. This will  allow for a retrial where a verdict has been contaminated,  for example, by jury tampering. It will  also stiffen   the penalties for obstructing or perverting the course of justice.

*Judicial Accountability -  legislation will be enacted   to ensure judicial accountability for performance and behaviour in office.

*The Law Reform (Notice of Alibi) Bill – new provisions will be  made  for the notice of alibi in criminal proceedings.

*The Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) (Amendment) Bill - will allow for the introduction of evidence by TV link and video recorded evidence.

*The National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) - will be established in law. The Office of the Public Defender will be enhanced to incorporate the NHRI.

*Trafficking in Persons –   Important  piece of legislation  amending the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Suppression and Punishment) Act  will  enable  the courts  to  prosecute  offences   under the Act  without a  Jury.