Black Immigrant Daily News
Opposition Leader Mark Golding has signalled his intention to challenge in the courts, the Government’s use of the two recently declared states of emergency (SOEs) in the month of December.
Golding has declared that he will be doing so, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness “needs to be taught to live within the rule of law”.
Holness, in announcing a fresh set of SOEs in eight parishes on Tuesday, said while the security forces have had “reasonable success” in reducing the number of murders leading up to, and during the Christmas season, the threat levels for a number of forms of crime remain “elevated and extensive in scale”.
However, Golding has countered that argument by insisting that there was and is nothing to justify the two separate SOEs covering the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, St Ann, St James, Westmoreland and Hanover.
“The PNP has sought and now received legal advice on the two most recent SOEs that were declared on the 6th and 28th of December, respectively,” said Golding in an audio statement.
“There is nothing to suggest that these two SOEs were declared as a result of changed circumstances after the SOE in November failed to get the required two-thirds support of the Senate on the 25th of November,” he claimed.
Golding, the President of the People’s National Party (PNP), opined that the two SOEs declared in December are, therefore, “clearly an attempt to circumvent the limits that the Constitution intended to place on the prime minister’s powers.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
“Based on the advice we (the PNP) have received, I believe that it is likely that the court would declare this recent practice to be unconstitutional,” he suggested, adding that “We will, therefore, be seeking the court’s guidance on this.”
According to Golding, the issue surrounding the SOEs are of “fundamental constitutional importance and needs to be resolved once and for all”.
He further said that “The prime minister needs to be taught to live within the rule of law”.
The Opposition leader has not indicated when he intends to embark on court proceedings relative to the back-to-back emergency measures.
Holness has, on numerous occasions, rubbished the suggestion that SOEs are unconstitutional, and has maintained that no court has so ruled.
He said what the court had an issue with were the Emergency Powers Regulations governing past SOEs.
Furthermore, the prime minister and members of the security forces are adamant that the measures save lives by reducing murders.