Bill dead in the wa­ter

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News - Kim­ber­ley Cum­mins

by Govern­ment on Wed­nes­day night suf­fered a ma­jor de­feat in the Se­nate on a mo­tion that would have amended the Con­sti­tu­tion of Bar­ba­dos.

It was an un­usual oc­cur­rence, as the Mia Mot­t­ley-led ad­min­is­tra­tion has a ma­jor­ity and no con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment has been known to be de­feated post-in­de­pen­dence.

Eight of the 17 se­na­tors present voted against the amend­ment, leav­ing Govern­ment with nine votes, short of the two-thirds ma­jor­ity needed for the bill to be passed. Three se­na­tors were ab­sent.

The mat­ter sur­round­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion (Amend­ment) (No. 2) Bill, 2018 drew to a head when In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tor Kevin Boyce op­posed it.

He said that un­der the amended leg­is­la­tion, a level of pro­tec­tion for hu­man life would be re­moved, and he sug­gested that the ex­ist­ing Con­sti­tu­tion, which pro­vides that the of­fice of the Gover­nor Gen­eral au­to­mat­i­cally trig­ger a re­view of peo­ple sen­tenced to death, should be re­tained.

“There­fore, in the pro­posed amend­ment, just change the first line where it says: ‘Where a per­son makes a sub­mis­sion in ac­cor­dance with Sub­sec­tion 5 and sim­ply say ‘Where a per­son has been sen­tenced to death’ . . .” he con­tended.

“We are re­mov­ing that and say­ing, ‘You in­di­vid­u­als should make the ap­pli­ca­tion for clemency’. I don’t think we should let that stand. The Con­sti­tu­tion says the Gover­nor Gen­eral, once you are sen­tenced to death, will take cer­tain steps. I am not propos­ing to stop the pro­ce­dure to­day, I’m not propos­ing to de­lay it; all I’m say­ing is to bring it in line with what the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s pow­ers cur­rently are.”

Leader of Govern­ment Busi­ness, Se­na­tor Jerome Wal­cott, ob­jected, stat­ing that the amend­ment was in line with those pro­posed by the pre­vi­ous Demo­cratic Labour Party (DLP) Govern­ment. How­ever, In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tor Monique Taitt in­ter­jected, query­ing why Wal­cott sought the past as a ref­er­ence given the re­cently elected BLP ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­scribed that pe­riod as a lost pe­riod.

The crosstalk con­tin­ued be­fore the bill was moved to a vote, with Govern­ment Se­na­tors Jerome Wal­cott, Lu­cille Moe, Kay Mc­conney, Dr Rom­mel Springer, Lynette Holder, Dr Crys­tal Haynes, Damien Sands, Raw­don Adams, and deputy pres­i­dent Ru­dolph “Cappy” Greenidge vot­ing “yes”.

In­de­pen­dent Se­na­tors Lin­dell Nurse, Dr Christo­pher May­nard, Taitt, Rev. Michael Maxwell, Boyce, Alphea Wig­gins and Op­po­si­tion Se­na­tors Crys­tal Drakes and Caswell Franklyn voted “no”.

The same re­sult held firm when the bill was read for a third time. Af­ter fur­ther dis­cus­sion, Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate Sir Richard Chel­tenham read his de­ci­sion.

“Re­sult­ing from the vote just taken, I am ad­vised that this bill, the Con­sti­tu­tion Amend­ment Bill, has not met the re­quire­ments of two-thirds and to that ex­tent it has not passed,” he stated.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Barbados

© PressReader. All rights reserved.