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Rev Stanley Redwood — one of the best Senate presidents

Inside Parliament

Balford Henry

Sunday, May 12, 2013    

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JUST as we were about to hail Rev Stanley Redwood for developing into one of the best presidents that the Senate has ever produced, he resigns after only 16 months at the helm of the Upper House and takes off for Canada to resettle with his family.

However, we cannot escape the point that in his 16 months in the chair, Redwood brought to the post a sense of justice and discipline which we do not often see in the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

He clearly displayed his unbiased character in dealing with Opposition member, Dr Christopher Tufton, a former political opponent in South West St Elizabeth, and his discipline in dealing with senior members of the Government in the chamber.

He was criticised in the media for insisting on the use of proper English in the chamber, in response to the use of the Jamaican vernacular by Minister of Justice Mark Golding ("Rispek due") without acknowledging that Standing Order 6 of the Senate states: Language: (1) The proceedings and debates of the Senate shall be in the English Language; (2) Every petition shall be in the English Language".

In his letter of resignation, Redwood informed his colleagues that "it was a privilege to have served this nation in that position of honour over the past 16 months.

"This privilege has been accentuated by the support I have received from all the honourable members of the Senate. I am supremely confident that the shared goal that this will be remembered as the most productive Senate since Independence will be realised," Redwood said.

"My confidence is anchored in the statesmanship and patriotic commitment I have encountered among the members. There is also a particular camaraderie often reflected in the spontaneous, good-natured humour across the aisle, which also augurs well for the success of the Senate. I am deeply grateful for the warmth and cordiality that was shown to me by every one of you. Kindly accept the assurances of my highest regard," he stated.

In an earlier statement to the Jamaica Observer, Redwood explained his reasons for resigning and emigrating:

"Five years ago, my family applied to the Canadian authorities for immigrant status. We had no knowledge of whether or when the application would have been approved. I continued to serve diligently wherever I was required. Two weeks ago, we were advised that our application had been accepted. The prime minister was immediately informed of our intention to accept the offer. All other relevant officials have been subsequently informed. This choice is a reasoned family decision.

"I am cognisant of the fact that this decision will inevitably disrupt my service as president of the Senate. I harbour a great deal of ambivalence and reticence in this regard. I am certain, however, that this move will open new doors and create more opportunities for me to continue to serve my beloved country among the growing Jamaican Diaspora in Canada.

"This transition is an opportunity to make vital connections and garner valuable experiences which I expect will help me to contribute even more practically and effectively to Jamaica's development in the near future. I commit to continuing my efforts to assist in the advancement of Jamaica, and I will be back.

"I have endeavoured, during my short but rewarding stint in the Senate, to carry out my responsibilities with impartiality, fairness and humility. I have always held the best interest of the Jamaican people at heart.

"I have been honoured to serve in that capacity, among some of the most committed Jamaicans. I hope I have been able to make even a small contribution to what I am confident will be remembered as the finest and most productive Senate since Independence."

Sectoral debate

The Sectoral Debate resumes at Gordon House on Tuesday, May 14, with the main speaker being Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, who is expected to elaborate on the proposed Logistics Hub, which Opposition spokesman, Karl Samuda, said last week is now a "pipedream" in terms of the timeframe for delivery.

Other speakers scheduled for Tuesday are William JC Hutchinson, Opposition spokesman on Agriculture, Mining and Natural Resources; and Mikael Phillips (North West Manchester). Wednesday's speakers are Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites; Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Arnaldo Brown; and Opposition MP Pearnel Charles (North Central Clarendon).

GOPAC

The Jamaican Parliament will host a delegation from the Canadian chapter of the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) from May 13 to May 16.

GOPAC is an international network of parliamentarians dedicated to good governance and combating corruption throughout the world, and its vision is to achieve democratic accountability through engaged, informed and motivated parliamentarians.

While in Jamaica, members of the delegation will meet with government officials and conduct a workshop for parliamentarians on the role of Parliament in fighting corruption, with emphasis on Public Accounts Committee (PAC) best practices. GOPAC has proposed measures to strengthen the Public Accounts Committee's oversight capabilities, including providing technical assistance to the PAC through a two-year exchange programme with the Canadian House of Commons.

The visitors will conduct a workshop on the role of Parliament in fighting corruption at Gordon House between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm on Wednesday, followed by a press conference.

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