BOJ autonomy Bill committee to meet weekends

Friday, November 09, 2018

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PARLIAMENT will be seeking submissions from stakeholders and other people interested in the changes being made to the Bank of Jamaica (Amendment) Act, to release the bank from Government control, by December 21.

The joint select committee, appointed to review the changes, at its first meeting on Wednesday at Gordon House, established meeting dates for November 24, and December eight and nine.

However, Opposition members questioned whether it made sense asking stakeholders to turn up on the three weekend days — two Saturdays and a Sunday — to make presentations, a situation they suggested was unusual.

Opposition member Dr Wykeham McNeill asserted that while House committees had weekend retreats and meetings, they are usually triggered by the urgency to meet a deadline.

Another Opposition MP, Mark Golding, the spokesman on finance, questioned if it made sense asking that individuals and institutions turn up on Saturdays and Sundays to make their presentations.

But Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke, who made the suggestion, noted that the interested individuals and institutions would have two more weeks to submit their contributions, and noted that it was only a proposal from him which could be changed, if necessary.

It was also noticeable that the original nine-man joint select committee has now been expanded to 11 members, with the addition of senators Matthew Samuda (Government) and Damion Crawford (Opposition), after the Senate supported Opposition member Lambert Brown's position that it was under-represented with only three original members.

In response, the Government increased the membership and allowed the addition of senators Samuda and Crawford.

The full membership of the committee now includes: Dr Clarke, chairman; Justice Minister Delroy Chuck; minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Fayval Williams; minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green; Government MP Leslie Francis; and Opposition MP Peter Bunting, from the House of Representatives; and, senators Kamina Johnson Smith (minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade) and Kavan Gayle (Government) and Brown, Samuda and Crawford.

— Balford Henry

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