Watchdog group calls for impeachment legislation
Watchdog group Jamaica Accountability Meter Portal (JAMP) is calling for the Government to fast-track impeachment legislation so that public officials who engage in conduct that is unbecoming can be removed from office.
The organisation is arguing that promises to enact the legislation have gone unfulfilled for years and now is the time to get it done.
It is contending that the situation surrounding Westmoreland Central Member of Parliament George Wright makes a compelling case for the need for parliamentary accountability mechanisms such as impeachment legislation.
Wright was interviewed by cops in St James on Wednesday as investigators probe an assault of a woman that was captured on closed-circuit television.
He was named as a person of interest in the matter.
The woman had filed a report to the police.
Wright was released without charge after being interviewed
In Photo: George Wright
The MP subsequently met with Jamaica Labour Party officials yesterday following which it issued a statement today indicating that he will withdraw from the Government Parliamentary Caucus in light of the unresolved allegations.
This means that Wright’s status in Parliament would be that of an independent member.
The party further stated that he was encouraged to apply to the Speaker for leave of absence from sittings of the House of Representatives until the allegations are resolved.
The watchdog group’s executive director Jeanette Calder is arguing that the situation cannot be viewed as only an internal party matter as a cloud remains over Wright’s leadership and moral fitness to continue to serve.
Calder is of the view that the allegations against Wright, and the public calls for his removal, reinforce the need for the passage of impeachment legislation.
This process, she argued, would hold parliamentarians to account for actions that render them unfit to hold public office or actions that bring Jamaica or its Parliament into disrepute.
“Current constitutional provisions only allow for an MP to resign if guided by conscience, or if voted out of office by constituents. If neither happens, Jamaicans are held to ransom, to tolerate the intolerable.”
That’s why she wants Prime Minister Andrew Holness to include the Constitution (Amendment) (Impeachment) Bill on the 2021/22 legislative agenda and for him to urgently convene a joint select committee to review the bill and take into account the public’s views.
She is also calling for debate and passage of the bill within this legislative year.
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