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House to refocus on laws

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE GOVERNMENT has stated its intention to advance the legislative agenda of the House of Representatives before the 2009-2010 term ends on March 17.

"Parliament will make its best attempt to complete 12 government matters and 44 private members' motions by the end of term," House Leader Andrew Holness declared yesterday.

Among the issues on the parliamentary agenda is a bill titled 'An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica to Provide for a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms', which is to be read a third time.

Better known as the Charter of Rights, the bill has been sitting on the table - as required by the Constitution - for three months. It will be taken next Wednesday and, if passed, would go to the Senate for its approval.

Jamaica has been seeking to amend the provisions of Chapter Three of the Constitution since 1977.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Bruce Golding will today move a motion to repeal the Police Public Complaints Act.

New commission on the books

Government is proposing the establishment of a commission of Parliament, to be known as the Independent Commission of Investigations, to undertake investigations concerning actions by members of the security forces and other agents of the state that result in death or injury to persons, or the abuse of the rights of persons.

The bill has already been laid and is to be read a second time today.

Also on the parliamentary agenda is the issue of the six anti-crime bills that have been lingering on the order paper since December 2008.

This matter is to be considered by the House on March 16, the day before the House rises for recess.

A joint select committee of Parliament has already considered the proposed bills. The People's National Party has expressed discomfort with some provisions in the proposed legislation, and its members who participated in the joint select committee meetings have said they may send a minority report to Parliament.