Senators bid farewell to Golding, Brown Burke

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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PEOPLE'S National Party (PNP) candidates for St Andrew Southern and St Andrew South Western in the October 30 by-elections, Mark Golding and Angela Brown Burke, have both resigned from the Senate.

The former senators resigned Friday evening, tendering their resignations to the governor general, Sir Patrick Allen, at King's House, hours after their final Senate meeting at Gordon House.

Senator Golding on Tuesday confirmed the resignations, which are required under the Jamaican Constitution.

Section 40(1) of the Constitution states that: “No person shall be qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives who is: (a) a member of the Senate…”

According to Golding, after tributes were paid to him and Brown, he had visited King's House to hand his resignation letter to the governor general, as is required. Members of Parliament (MPs) hand their resignation letters to the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Senate paid tribute to the departing members on Friday afternoon after it was raised on the Motion for Adjournment by Opposition member Senator Lambert Brown.

Senator Brown noted that the effect of Section 40(i) of the Constitution would be that prior to being nominated for the by-elections, they would have been required to resign from the Senate.

He pointed out that Golding was leaving on the tenth anniversary of his appointment to the Senate, in 2007, and praised his performance since, especially as Minister of Justice between 2012 and 2016, as well as leader of Opposition business since February 2016.

“His contribution in the Senate has been significant,” he said, noting that Golding was also chair of the legislative committee of the previous Cabinet, and had piloted “most, if not all” of the Bills which were tabled in the Senate during the period.

Responding, Leader of Government Business Senator Kamina Johnson Smith wished both senators the “warmest wishes” of the Government benches for their successful transition to the Lower House.

“Senator (Lambert) Brown has already stated a reality of which we are all painfully aware,” Senator Johnson Smith stated, in response to Brown's reference to the likelihood that both candidates are assured of election to the Lower House based on the demographics of the constituencies in which they will be competing on October 30.

However, she said that the contributions made by both members of the Senate should not be understated.

“The legislative process was enriched by their contributions, by their diligence and by their commitment to working on behalf of Jamaica in this context,” she stated.

Senator Don Wehby (Government) recalled his close friendship with Golding and his contribution to the passage of legislation over the past five years which, he said, facilitated Jamaica meeting economic targets under agreements with the International Monetary Fund.

Opposition member K D Knight suggested that Golding's move to the Lower House would “help the leader of the Opposition to cease being leader of the Opposition”.

Senator Sophia Frazer Binns said that she would miss the presence of both Brown Burke and Golding, but looked forward to their continued relationship.

“I know you will continue in the footsteps of Comrade (Portia) Simpson Miller,” she told Brown Burke.

Brown Burke, in response, said thanks for the sentiments expressed.

“I don't know what is likely to happen between now and the end of the month, but I suspect that I will come back to this place, this building, not this chamber,” she commented.

Golding said that he was grateful for the “kind words”, and thanked former Prime Minister Simpson Miller and current Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips for the confidence they have shown in him.

Golding said that despite the “strong disagreements” and “agitated behaviour” involving both sides of the Senate, “we all respect each other as individuals”.

— Balford Henry

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