Holness promises: The first 100 days

Thursday, March 10, 2016

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 KINGSTON, Jamaica — With Parliament back in session under a new Government, and members of the House of Representatives and the Senate in place, OBSERVER ONLINE will track the actions of the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration for the first 100 days in office.

Leading up to the February 25 General Election, Prime Minister Andrew Holness made several pronouncements on the campaign trail, several of which included plans for his administration’s first 100 days in office.
Holness was sworn in as prime minister by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen on March 3. His ministers, State ministers and the attorney general were sworn in on March 7 and today’s reconvening of Parliament, which saw members of Parliament and members of the Senate being sworn in, is the final act for the new Government to take office.
Holness’ promises for first 100 days in office
The prime minister’s clearest pronouncements about the actions that will be taken by the Government in its first 100 days in office came from the JLP platform in Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St James on February 7.
Holness said then that his Government would start the legislative process to address several areas.
“Within our first 100 days of government, we will start the legislative process to fix the date for general elections in Jamaica,” he said.
Holness said having a fixed election date would bring greater certainty to the political process.
“And by the way, the date will be a date after the budget and not before,” he pointed out. “So no government will be able to come and make false promises and hide the truth and tell you half-truths and trick you into voting for them, and then when them win, them throw on poison pon yuh.”
Holness said too that, within the first 100 days, his Government would start the legislative process to institute impeachment proceedings in Parliament.
“This will add another layer of protection of the Parliament to ensure that only members of unquestioned integrity sit in the Parliament,” he argued.
The prime minister also intends to start the legislative process to institute term limits on the Office of Prime Minister.
“Within the first 100 days of Government we will start the legislative process to institute term limits on the Office of Prime Minister,” Holness said.
He also said there were “many forces” pulling at the value systems of Jamaica and those issues must be addressed.
“They want to change the very foundations, the definition and fabric of Jamaica. The only way to resolve these issues is to have you, the people, say what you want,” Holness insisted.
Although he did not say this would be done in the first 100 days, but “at a convenient time within the new government”, he said there will be a grand referendum on the Caribbean Court of Justice CJ as the final appellate court and the removal of the buggery law.
“You can decide what you want,” Holness said. “These things are important, they define the Jamaican state and the Parliament shouldn’t, on their own, make that decision, you should say how your country should be defined.”
The JLP also promised to get rid of income tax for everyone who earns a basic salary of $1.5 million or less yearly, beginning on April 1 – the start of the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
In the meantime, the prime minister also said then that a citizen had written to him about putting the full legalisation of marijuana on the grand referendum and that there are other issues in the Jamaican society that he would be prepared to discuss, that could possibly be added.
OBSERVER ONLINE will track the Government’s progress on these and other promises over the next 100 days.

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