Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has announced that there will be a comprehensive review of his country’s Constitution beginning in 2022.
He made the announcement during his address at the Jamaica Labour Party’s 78th annual conference which was held virtually from 10 satellite locations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In making the case for the review, the Prime Minister noted that the pandemic has exposed gaps in the law and these must be rectified.
“I have asked the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General to advise me on the process of reviewing the Constitution. We do intend to start next year, the process for constitutional review and the necessary reforms that may flow from that,” Holness said.
In the meantime, he said the government intends to take several bills to the Parliament, including the Jamaica Teaching Council Bill, which he said, has been “bouncing around for 10 years”.
The bill, which will establish professional codes and standards for teachers, will be brought to the Parliament in early 2022.
According to the Prime Minister, education “has suffered in the pandemic and it has also suffered reputational damage and I don’t feel good about that”. He said the Teaching Council Bill will restore not just dignity in education but also the outcomes of education.
Additionally, he said the government will also table the full regulations under the Road Traffic Act to bring effect to the parent legislation which was passed by the Parliament in 2018 and thus “begin the much desired process of bringing order to our roads”.
Holness noted that apart from murders, “the next big complaint is the indiscipline on our roads. That legislation will carry us one step further to bringing order to our roads,” he stated.
And the Prime Minister said the government will also bring the new MOCA regulations, which he noted, are part of efforts to strengthen the anti-corruption framework.
The last major review of Jamaica’s independence Constitution of 1962 came in 2010 with major amendments to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Jamaica Observer)