PASS BILL OF IMPEACHMENT
JMEA, PSOJ urge Government to proceed swiftly with legislation to indict corrupt politicians
TWO POWERFUL private-sector bodies have called for urgent steps to be taken by the Government to pass a bill before Parliament that provides for the impeachment of parliamentarians found to be involved in corrupt practices and running afoul of the...
TWO POWERFUL private-sector bodies have called for urgent steps to be taken by the Government to pass a bill before Parliament that provides for the impeachment of parliamentarians found to be involved in corrupt practices and running afoul of the law.
The Constitution (Amendment) (Impeachment) bill tabled by Opposition Leader Mark Golding in May 2021 has been languishing on Parliament’s Order Paper for more than two years without any timeline set for the proposed law to be debated.
President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), John Mahfood, told The Gleaner that debate and passage of the proposed impeachment law should be done expeditiously.
In a statement yesterday, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the JMEA urged the Government to pass the law quickly.
Tool for accountability
They argue that the legislation serves as an integral tool in demanding accountability from those who hold legislative office, effectively addressing the Government’s failures and holding officials involved in corruption responsible.
Additionally, the private-sector bodies argue that it was necessary for the bill to be passed to ensure that politicians are held to account for misusing public resources and neglecting their duties.
Mahfood said that the private sector needs to pay greater attention to legislative issues brought before the legislature.
“The private sector needs to be more cognisant of these issues that are brought to Parliament or the Senate with a view to backing them and encouraging our leaders to do the right thing,” he said.
The JMEA boss indicated that there would be stronger advocacy from the private-sector groups.
In terms of the massive pay hikes approved for the political directorate, the PSOJ and the JMEA joined in the call for further consideration of the recommendations from the Carl Stone Report commissioned by the Michael Manley administration of 1990.
A key recommendation in that report is a special provision to be inserted in law to allow citizens to recall poor-performing members of parliament and implement special training courses for politicians.
The private-sector groups said that while they are not opposed to a salary increase in principle, the organisations believe that it should be in keeping with the country’s macroeconomic realities. They are also of the view that the increase should be accompanied by a transparent accountability system that allows Jamaicans to assess the performance of the political directorate.
“There has undoubtedly been a lack of communication with the public on the justification for these significant increases at a time when sections of our population suffer from the effects of high inflation and many years of low economic growth,” the groups said.
The two private-sector bodies also insist that the Government should implement key performance indicators and job descriptions for all parliamentarians and ministers.
In a Gleaner interview, Mahfood said it was important that a date be set for the implementation of these measures.
The JMEA and the PSOJ says that although this matter has been promised over a long period, it must now be treated as a matter of urgency to ensure that the political directorate performs effectively and commensurate with the investment from the Jamaican public.
“We see no reason why the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service cannot be tasked with evaluating the performance of the ministers and reporting same to the Cabinet or directly to the honourable prime minister. The public expects a significant improvement in their performance given these very large increases.”