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Government could fall without Separation of Powers

03/31/10

Permalink 11:13:39 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Commentary

Government could fall without Separation of Powers

Every now and again somebody publishes an article in some publication that just makes me happy to know that there are still people in Jamaica with the ability to think outside the political box, to think radically, and all in all just make me read and say... Brilliant. These people are those which give me faith that maybe there is somebody out there who has the capacity for intelligent thought. The article that managed to inspire me is one published in yesterdays (30/3/10) Observer by Attorny Frank Phipps QC, with regards to the way the government handled the recent extradition issue you have probable heard so much about.

Now to a cut a long story (that has been repeated one too many times) short, the US government has requested that the Jamaican government send one of its most notorious gangmen to the US to face multiple charges. The Jamaican government refused to send said gangleader on some questionable grounds, and apparently the Jamaican government is so serious about the fact that they will not be sending this person abroad that even our Prime Minister has had to step forward and make a public statement regarding the fact. In the article Phipp's spoke about the separation of powers and the lack thereof in Jamaica, where he states that the government needs to be held more accountable for their actions. He starts by saying that:

If the minister is wrong, politically wrong, in refusing to send the case to the courts, the consequences may very well be that the government could fall ... That's a political reality.

...

But under our system of governance where the executive and the legislature are so intertwined, that the mistake of the executive can cause the demise of the elected representatives of the people, which is not right. You need a separation of powers wherein if the minister had made a mistake, then the government may fall, but it cannot affect where the people have elected their representatives ... it should not

That seems pretty straight forward and it is a serious issue with Jamaican politics, where in essence the executive (the prime minister), is pretty much allowed to do whatever he pleases and nobody does everything except bawl and complain about what he is doing. The legislature (parliament) cannot even attempt to question what the executive does because the executive also has constitutionally, the power to shift and shuffle the legislature as he sees fit (so he can use more forceful pursuasive methods). We have seen this issue begin to show itself where numerous ministers have recently been linked to some unscrupulous dealings or bad contracts etcetera, and it basically leaves the government in some sort of limbo as to what the next step is.

In order to ensure that separation of powers is upheld one can either have a referendum to affect change to the constitution and the close to unlimited powers that it gives to the executive, OR as suggested in the article:

It can be done by increasing the number of ministers in the Senate and saying that no elected member of parliament should be a minister of government. The advantage of that is if all the ministers are in the Senate, you can't have these big Cabinet membership, you can only have 13. You know how much you would save if you had a serious, competent man running a ministry with a proper civil service? A lot of these statutory bodies and quasi-government organisations could be eliminated, with only 13 ministries... If you were to save all that money you could afford to pay the MP the same salary that you pay the minister, so the MP has nothing to lose financially and his responsibility would be to his people whom he represents.

Wow... wasn't that a remarkably simple solution. You see honestly there is no big challenge in separating the powers of government. Many states do it without much issues, even our biggest neighbours the USA does it and no you dont need to have a multi billion GDP to be able to implement such a thing either. You would achieve an MP who's sole focus is on his constituents and a man who because of his INTELLIGENCE and QUALIFICATIONS would be in charge of running the ministry, unlike current situations where we currently have men who are incapable of rational thought in charge of important ministries, such as the Finance Ministry, or Health, or Housing.

The article also attacks Mr. Golding stating that he had always been one of the people who was at the forefront of the move for separation of powers. From his days where he left the JLP and formed the NDM he even proposed ways in which the separation can be done, and stated that "We have to ensure that no minister can be allowed to run with it", but to me it seems like Bruce only showed signs of intelligence in those years when he formed the NDM and since then has become, much less than he had the potential to do.

The problems with our current political system is quite obvious, nobody is accountable and nobody is in government who is speaking for the people and their rights and telling the executive and the legislature that hey wait a minute, what you are doing here is wrong... But alas, we are stuck where we are for the time being.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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