Jamaica opposition leader survives attempt to oust him from office


Leader of the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness. (Credit: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday March 31, 2015, CMC – The leader of the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Andrew Holness, has survived a move to oust him from office in the wake of the controversy that followed the removal and subsequent return of two members of the Senate.

In a secret ballot on Monday, Holness received 13 of the 20 votes cast.

“He has been reaffirmed as leader of the opposition, it was a very good meeting and I’m very convinced that based on what we picked up at the meeting, we are in good stead and we will be moving together as one in the future and we expect great things,” said Derrick Smith, Leader of Opposition Business in the Lower House.

The meeting on Monday was called to discuss Holness’ stewardship of the 72-year-old party in that aftermath of the recent Senate controversy in which the Constitutional Court ruled that his request for the use of undated pre-signed resignation letters to oust Arthur Williams and Dr. Christopher Tufton from the Upper House in 2013 was unconstitutional null and void.

Holness appealed the ruling but the Appeals Court upheld the ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Lawyers for Holness had argued in the Appeals Court that Williams used the wrong procedure to initiate the court action against the opposition leader.

However, one of the respondents in the appeal, the Attorney General’s department said it was surprised that an argument about procedure was being used.

Holness had initially said the Constitutional Court had erred on matters of law and fact.

According to media report among those voting against Holness were Daryl Vaz, James Robertson, Delroy Chuck, Marissa Dalrymple-Phillibert, Gregory Mair and Audley Shaw.

However when questioned by journalists, they refused to confirm whether or not they voted in favour of Holness.

But last week, Chuck resigned as a member of Holness-led shadow cabinet, saying that ruling by the Court of Appeal had damaged Holness’ image and that of the JLP.

Chuck, who was the spokesman on justice and legal affairs, had also suggested that Holness consider resigning his post.

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