Tue | May 26, 2020

Declare a State of Public Emergency in the nation's interest - PNP

Published:Monday | March 30, 2020 | 9:46 AM
Opposition Spokesperson on Justice Donna Scott-Mottley - File photo

The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) says it believes that a state of emergency is the right legislative vehicle for the government to help fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

The PNP argues that a declaration of a State of Public Emergency, in the current circumstances, is one which will ensure that the clear signal is sent that the Constitution is supreme.

The party adds that it stands ready to support the Government in the measures being taken to combat the virus but says they must be anchored within the ambit of legal provisions. 

The government is using powers under the Disaster Risk Management Act to combat the spread of the coronavirus, but some have criticised the move arguing that the administration is on a bad legal footing.

However, the government has defended the legality of its COVID-19 response measures.

Opposition Spokesperson on Justice Donna Scott-Mottley said there should be no ambiguity in the country’s  efforts to combat the COVID-19 crisis and the rights and freedom of our people.

“This crisis which we face as a nation is unprecedented. It is a time when the entire country should come together in recognition of our humanity and vulnerability.  We continue to urge all Jamaicans to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and family and follow the advice issued by of the health authorities.  We are all in this together,” she said in a statement.

She argues that the Constitution sets out the framework for a situation such as the one being experienced in Jamaica and the rest of the world.

She added that as Jamaica wrestles with this crisis, it is important that there be no division over this issue.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, the Government should cause the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen…to issue the appropriate proclamation under Section 20 of the Constitution which gives him the authority to so do, if he is satisfied ‘that a period of public disaster has arisen as a result of the occurrence of any earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, outbreak of pestilence, outbreak of infections, disease or other calamity, whether similar to the foregoing or not’” Senator Scott-Mottley said.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.