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