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Holness says Williams assured of constitutionality of pre-signed resignation letters

Published:Friday | November 22, 2013 | 5:24 PM

The Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness, has declared that former Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Arthur Williams, had assured him that the controversial undated resignation letters submitted two years ago were constitutional.

He said that the use of pre-signed resignation letters was a scheme devised by Williams who wanted to preserve unity in the Opposition Senate.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader made the claim in an affidavit responding to a claim filed by the former Senator Williams challenging Holness’ decision to remove him by submitting letters drawn up in 2012.

However, Holness said Williams, an attorney-at-law had declared that the letters were constitutional.

In his affidavit, Holness explained how the resignation letters came about pointing to what he called the difficult period resulting from Bruce Golding’s resignation and his subsequent transition to Prime Minister in 2011.

He said concerns were expressed by party members including Williams about the unity and stability of the Opposition Senate especially with regard to its history while in opposition.

Holness noted that in his then capacity as Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Williams devised a resignation scheme which he advised was constitutional.

The Opposition Leader said he was handed the signed letters after Williams executed after his scheme.

According to the court documents, Holness claimed he did not have any discussions with Williams about the use of the letters for any particular purpose including a vote against the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Holness said the use of a letter subject to such a vote would be useless because a vote once cast cannot be retrieved and would render the letters redundant.

Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton has been removed from the Senate through the signed letters.


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