Disappointed in Opposition
I listened to a debate in Parliament last week and was disturbed by the stance taken by the People’s National Party (PNP) members in relation to a Bill which seeks to increase the retirement age of the auditor general (AG) and the director of public prosecutions (DPP).
In particular, I was disappointed by the submissions of the Leader of Opposition Business Peter Bunting, along with his colleagues Lambert Brown, Donna Scott Mottley, and Floyd Morris. I had a similar feeling of umbrage towards the submissions of Lothian Cousins and Julian Robinson in the lower House.
At the core of their contribution appeared to be a suggestion that there was something inappropriate about the decision to extend the retirement age of both the DPP and AG and that the Opposition should have been consulted.
As I understand it, the constitution is clear. A simple majority of both Houses of Parliament is required to have the amendment which is being pursued successfully implemented. What troubled me about Bunting’s attitude was the inherent suggestion that DPP Paula Llewellyn might be party to an inappropriate move to extend her tenure. Both senators Bunting and Brown sounded emotive in their arguments, which made me question their objectivity.
I do not know DPP Llewellyn personally, but based on what I’ve seen of her in the public domain over many years, I have no doubt that the learned public prosecutor would never be party to anything which is legally unsound and inappropriate.
Bunting even stated that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would be damaged if the law was amended to bring the retirement age of the DPP in line with regional and international standards. His tone in making that statement caused me to wonder whether his comment was an objective assessment.
In my view, the decision by the Opposition to resist a possible legal amendment which would allow two gifted Jamaican women to lend more of their talents to this country is a disgrace.
I had contemplated urging Opposition Leader Mark Golding to have a word with his charges in the Senate and the House of Representatives. However, that would be pointless as Golding’s behaviour in the public domain concerning this issue has been no better.