If one can overlook the juvenile nature of the theatrics which passes for a legislative process in the Jamaican Parliament then we may take a moment to celebrate the passage of a National Identification Bill in the Senate.
If you are wondering what I’m jabbering about, you decide whether this is dialogue fitting of a deliberative body in this day and age.
During deliberations on sections three and four, tempers flared. Opposition senator K.D. Knight referenced the activities as a “kangaroo Senate” after Senator Lambert Brown was denied an opportunity to speak to the motion seeking to allow the sitting to go beyond the 4:20 time.
If you ever wonder why I’m so dismissive and disrespectful of the process and the practitioners, it is because of these old dinosaurs which continue to contaminate the process which irks me.
In response Senate President Tom Tavares Finson flew into the usual rage, stating that he took offense to Knight’s calling the sitting a kangaroo Senate. “I know when I leave my yard I don’t come here to preside over any kangaroo Senate,” Tavares-Finson said. Knight would later apologize, saying he was forced to make such a comparison. Finson would also find himself apologizing, as he said it was pointed out to him that he “hissed his teeth or kissed his teeth” during the sitting.
I am not one steeped in the inner workings of the legislative protocols of the Jamaican Parliament but sufficing to say that the language seems more suited to another venue and the processes more appropriate for a 6th-grade civics class we’ll take this victory for the rule of law nontheless.
For years I have personally called for a national identification system as part of the process of law enforcement accountability and better representation of all Jamaicans.
Though the process is not fully complete all Jamaicans once educated on the benefits of the law should be encouraged by this law.
There are not many pieces of legislation which has come out of the Parliament which has been good for the Jamaican people.
The (INDECOM Act) as well as a Contractor’ Generals Act (without prosecutorial powers) are just a couple which readily comes to mind.
I have not read the bill and as such, I am still skeptical about it because of local lawmakers propensity to load up these bills with amendments which generally end up watering down the bill.
This bill I understand is no different, and as such there are already much handwringing about it from some quarters.
Nevertheless, it is 2017, there can be no legitime explanation for not having a National Id law in place.
The Government has placed the cart before the horse as was to be expected. It will now bear responsibility for explaining to the people the merits of this new legislation.
The People’s National Party now under the leadership of Peter Phillips has once again demonstrated that the party has no concept of Governance.
What I find most juvenile about the way the legislative process is approached are the things which become sticking points which should be easily overcome.
One such trivial issue which resulted in a major brouhaha was who should bear the cost of replacing the card if it became damaged by an entity to which it was presented upon request, or if it was not deliberately destroyed by a holder.
You lose the damn card or destroy it you bear the cost of its replacement period, what is so difficult about that?
I promised that I would not mention Peter Phillips but it appears the newly minted leader of the opposition have no concept of what Jamaica needs as a nation in the 21st century.
Phillips as did the hapless Portia Simpson Miller hangs his hat on criticizing whatever the Government does in the hope of gaining traction from any failures.
Peter Phillips must know that as a member of the International community Jamaica must be able to identify its citizens failing which they will not be able to leave the country going forward.
The inability to account adequately for citizens lands nations in the failed states category whether we agree or not, just ask Sudan, Somalia, et al.
Jamaicans line up to give up everything foreign nations demand just for a chance to enter their countries and on the rare instances, they are allowed to enter they have to give up much more to be identified and accounted for by law enforcement.
The Government must go full tilt with this process and ensure that all Jamaicans are identified.
This is a good first step in the right direction despite the critics, naysayers and Monday morning quarterbacks.