Opposition Spokesman on Justice Delroy Chuck wants the Government to amend the law to allow persons found with small quantities of marijuana to be tried in Petty Sessions courts.
"Every week, hundreds - perhaps thousands - of cases of a petty nature, especially the marijuana cases, dozens of young men come every day, especially on a Monday, to the Resident Magistrate's (RM) Court, oftentimes just to plead guilty, and they are charged sometimes just $100," Chuck said.
Chuck, who was contributing to a debate on a resolution to increase the number of resident magistrates from 50 to 70, argued that those cases should be removed from the RM courts and sent to the Petty Sessions Court.
The House is currently debating a motion brought by Raymond Pryce for the decriminalisation of marijuana.
Claims by Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw that suppliers of goods to the Government are not being paid in accordance with established guidelines have been dismissed by Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips.
Shaw, speaking in Parliament yesterday, said suppliers of food to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), for example, have not been paid within 90 day as stipulated by law.
"While we celebrate the passing of IMF (International Monetary Fund) tests, there are still some persistent problems in respect of the payment of current bills in certain areas of Government," Shaw said.
He said he was told that the arrears at the JDF were in excess of $100 million and well in excess of the statutory period allowable.
But Phillips said there is "zero build-up post-90 days and the Ministry of Finance was adhering to that position in all our agencies".
He added: "I think that is a creditable record for the Government of Jamaica. I can't tell you that there are not obligations within 90 days, and there may be obligations in specific enterprises bringing it down, but no current build-up of debt over 90 days in the government system."
Attorney-at-law and retired Deputy Commissioner of Police Owen Clunie has been barred from practising in Jamaica.
The General Legal Council confirmed yesterday that the decision to disbar Clunie was taken during a meeting last Saturday.
However, Althea Richards, the secretary to the council, was unable to say why Clunie was disbarred.
"It will subsequently be filed in the Supreme Court and on our website," Richards told The Gleaner.
Clunie served the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 38 years before retiring in December 2004.
In the last 10 years, 27 attorneys have been disbarred by the General Legal Council.
Among them are Arthur Kitchin, whose name was struck from the list of attorneys last year, and Chandra Soares, who was disbarred in March this year.
Richards noted that attorneys who are disbarred can apply to the council for reinstatement.
The education ministry has stepped in to quell the impasse between the University of Technology's (UTech) top brass and staff members.
Following a meeting with the academic, administrative, and ancillary staff unions yesterday, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said normalcy had returned to the campus.
The unions have taken the admini-stration to task over governance issues at the institution.
Thwaites is expected to meet with the university's council tomorrow to further address the concerns of the parties involved.