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Supreme Court to rule on Williams case against Holness today

Published:Monday | November 25, 2013 | 8:11 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

The Supreme Court is today expected to rule on the application brought by former Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Arthur Williams, against the Opposition Leader Andrew Holness.

Last Thursday, Justice Paulette Williams heard legal arguments in the matter challenging the decision of Holness to submit undated Senate resignation letters to the Governor General.

Williams filed the application on Tuesday seeking to block Holness from filling vacant opposition seats in the Senate.

The resignations of Williams and Dr Christopher Tufton were announced in the Upper House on November 15, although they had said they had no intention to step down following the Jamaica Labour Party leadership race.

It later emerged that Holness had secured an end to the tenure of the senators by submitting to the Governor General, undated resignation letters they wrote almost two years ago.

However, Williams who has admitted to crafting the letters, said at the time seven of the eight Opposition Senators wrote the undated resignation letters, it was for a specific purpose.

He said they were to be submitted to the Governor General only if the respective senator departed from the JLP's position for a referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

As a result, Williams has argued that the Opposition Leader breached his constitutional rights when he submitted his resignation letter to the Governor General.

However, Holness has rejected Williams' claims.

In his affidavit, Holness declared that Williams had assured him that the controversial undated resignation letters were constitutional.

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

Holness also said he did not have any discussions with Williams about the use of the letters for any particular purpose including a vote against the CCJ.

According to Holness 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.


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