CJ Politics

Golding Admits Knowledge of Ineligible Members of Parliament

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 9, 2011

Clockwise from top left: Shahine Robinson, Bruce Golding, Daryl Vaz, Everald Warmington, Michael Stern and Gregory Mair

A day after Jamaican MP Everald Warmington resigned after he said he felt he had violated the Jamaican constitution’s provisions on parliamentary eligibility, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding admitted that he had been aware of members of his party being ineligible to sit in Parliament.

Section 40(2) of the Jamaican Constitution prohibits those with dual citizenship from sitting in Parliament, either as a Senator or an MP. Several MPs have already resigned in previous years due to possessing dual citizenship.

According to Golding, the revelations were not made because of the potential instability of removing five Members of Parliament.

“We have been aware of the status for some time, but you will appreciate…Everald would have been the fifth of five,” Golding said yesterday. “I don’t need to spell it out that we could not have all five departing the House at the same time.”

To allow all five ineligible members to resign simultaneously was something he would not tolerate, Golding said.

“Let’s be practical. We have a majority in the House of four. If three of those four, four of those four, five of those four were to depart the House at any particular point in time simultaneously, under the rules of Parliament a certain number of members can convene the House, can pass a no-confidence motion on the Government; can cause the Government to collapse,” the Prime Minister said.

Five members have had dual citizenship issues: Shahine Robinson, who was disqualified along with Michael Stern in 2010; Daryl Vaz, who returned to Parliament after being disqualified in 2008 and then renounced his U.S. citizenship; Gregory Mair, who also was returned, and now Warmington.

Two PNP members, Sharon Hay-Webster and Ian Hayles, are involved in challenges by their defeated JLP opponents on similar grounds.

 

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