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Integrity of the House in question

Published:Monday | March 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM


Countries that have the parliamentary democracy have developed a number of checks and balances to ensure that the members of parliament demonstrate high ideals, sound integrity and good conduct. The British, who originated the Westminster system, have developed a number of conventions geared towards promoting ethical conduct by parliamentarians.

Breach of the constitution

Since the last elections of September 2007, successive issues have raised serious questions about the legitimacy and integrity of the Jamaican Parliament. The courts have so far ruled that three members of parliament who were sworn in to uphold the Constitution were themselves in breach of the said Constitution and were not qualified to be elected in the first place.Indications are that at least three more members of parliament are in similar breach of the Constitution. Let us not forget that two members of parliament were fined for abusing members of the police force in separate incidents.

Of great concern is the fact that there are members who remain in the Jamaican Parliament while facing serious corruption charges.

This situation is untenable if we are to have good and proper governance. How can the population respect the laws, decisions and pronouncements that emanate from the Jamaican Parliament in light of these ethical clouds?

Concerted efforts by civil society and political will are needed to retrieve the situation. Let us begin with one of the recent recommen-dation of the contractor general that elected officials who are charged and are under serious investigation should recuse themselves from their substantive positions.

I am, etc.,