Sun | Sep 24, 2023

PNP MP Lothan Cousins bats for term limits for parliamentarians

Published:Monday | May 22, 2023 | 9:14 AM
Member of Parliament for South Western Clarendon Lothan Cousins speaking at a People's National Party Toll Gate Divisional Conference at the Toll Gate Primary and Infant School on May 21. - Nathaniel Stewart photo.

Member of Parliament for South Western Clarendon Lothan Cousins says serious consideration should be given to term limits for parliamentarians.

Addressing People's National Party (PNP) supporters at a Toll Gate Divisional Conference on Sunday at the Toll Gate Primary and Infant School, Cousins argued that imposing term limits is crucial in unearthing fresh ideas to propel the country's development.

"The time has come for us, as a people, to start to seriously consider term limits for politicians. If we're serious about growing as a country, we need to limit the number of terms someone can serve as a Member of Parliament," said Cousins.

He asserted, too, that anyone who holds the office of Prime Minister should serve for only two terms.

"Term limit is a conversation that needs to be had, and it must be had, especially since we're now looking at… amending the Constitution of Jamaica. If [an MP] becomes prime minister, you can serve an additional two terms --so, five terms and that is it,” he posited.

"We cannot continue to operate as a country and continue to have persons who are serving from the 1970s and 60s still sitting in our parliament. That is unacceptable," Cousins charged.

"[We see] people mockingly say to the people 'Oh, yuh a fi carry me out in a wheelchair’. What kind ah eedyat argument is that? How can someone in a wheelchair fully represent the interest of the people that elect them?," he quipped, alluding to previous comments made by 10-term Jamaica Labour Party member of parliament for Clarendon Central Mike Henry, who in the past had said he had already identified the individual who will push his wheelchair into the chamber when it became necessary.

Henry, an octogenarian, has been an MP since 1980.

Cousins also blasted Prime Minister Andrew Holness for not fulfilling his 2016 election promise to introduce term limits.

"As soon as he realised the benefits…that is exactly what is happening to Jamaica today because you campaigned on a platform, you tell the people that when you win there will be term limits and as soon as you feel and taste the power, term limits is no longer a conversation," said Cousins.

- Olivia Brown

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