Harding leaving politics

Alicia Dunkley

Friday, November 25, 2011

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PRESIDENT of the Senate, Dr Oswald Harding, who holds the distinction of being the longest serving senator in Jamaica's history, is to retire.

Dr Harding informed the Upper House of the decision just before the Motion for adjournment of yesterday's sitting, stating that he had a strong feeling the Senate might not sit again before the call for a dissolution was made ahead of the pending general election.

"I have a very funny feeling we might not meet again, so let me say this. I have enjoyed it. I have had the pleasure serving, and since I am going to be the retiring president I would like to thank my colleagues. All the best to all of you until the next time," Dr Harding said. With that the Senate was adjourned.

Dr Harding who has served in the fields of law, diplomacy and education has been President of the Senate since 2007, but served in this capacity twice before in 1980 and 1983.

Dr Harding is a senior partner in the law firm O G Harding and Company and is Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Technology. He previously served as senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of the West Indies. He is the only PhD graduate in philosophy produced by the University of the West Indies.

Yesterday, Opposition Senator KD Knight tongue in cheek said "I have not yet publicly asked the prime minister to dissolve the House, but I shall be doing so over the weekend and I expect him to act with promptitude so it is very, very likely, 99 per cent that the Senate will not meet again as it is now constituted soon," drawing good-natured laughter.

Knight expressed hope that he and his colleagues would no longer be in Opposition at that time. He also took a swipe at former leader of government business in the Senate and Attorney General Senator Dorothy Lightbourne who had resigned in the wake of the Dudus/Manatt extradition scandal. The position of leader of government business is now held by Senator Dwight Nelson.

"I certainly in this last part here enjoyed being a member, and I want to congratulate the new leader of government business for having brought this kind of camaraderie to the Senate. I must say leader, that your stint was short and you are not likely to leave this chamber, so I hope you will have a longer stint on the next side," Knight said.

Lightbourne, who had had a somewhat acrimonious relationship with certain members of the Opposition side in the Senate, was not present at yesterday's sitting.

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