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Integrity of Senate 'shattered', Constitution 'trampled on' - NDM

Published:Sunday | November 17, 2013 | 12:44 PM

The National Democratic Movement (NDM) says the integrity of the Senate has been "shattered" and the Constitution "trampled on" following revelation that all eight opposition senators were instructed to sign resignation letters as a precondition to their appointment.

In a release last night, the NDM - Jamaica's third political party - said the Constitution had been "trampled on" and that the country had been "brought to a new low". The political party says the governor general, parliament and the president of the senate should seek to have the matter probed urgently.

Last week Arthur Williams revealed that senators were asked by Opposition leader Andrew Holness to sign undated resignation letters when they were appointed to ensure they would not depart from the Jamaica Labour Party’s stance on the issue of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Williams issued the statement following reports that he and Dr Christopher Tufton had resigned as Opposition Senators.

Holness had asked all eight senators to resign following his victory over Audley Shaw last week in a caustic leadership battle, but Dr Tufton, a known supporter of Shaw, had refused to resign. Holnes consequently enforced the letters of resignation and named a fresh slate of senators which excluded Tufton.

The move by Holness has come in for much criticism by members of the public and commentators, who have described it as underhanded and unethical. Analysts have also suggested that it could have implications for the independence of the senate.


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