Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Parliament should be the one to approve special zones – JFJ

Published:Tuesday | June 27, 2017 | 6:00 PMEdmond Campbell
Horace Levy

Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is recommending that a declaration of a Zone of Special Operations should be put to lawmakers to decide rather than giving the prime minister such substantial power in council.

Chairman of Jamaicans for Justice Horace Levy indicated that he had concerns about the power given to the prime minister as head of the National Security Council to declare a zone of special operations for two months and renewal for another four months before being taken to Parliament.

He was making a submission this morning to a joint select committee of Parliament considering the Zones of Special Operations bill.

The legislation is a major policy move by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to tackle the escalating crime in Jamaica which has resulted in more than 600 people being killed violently since the start of the year.

However, Levy cautioned that this move would have the effect of assigning power in law to an institution not so designated by the Constitution or previous practice.

Additionally, Levy says that putting the designation of areas as zones of special operations in the hands of the prime minister in council opens that body and especially the head of government to the charge of partisanship.

Levy recommended that the parliamentary opposition should have a voice in designations.