JAM | May 23, 2023

Special courses of training designed for MPs and Senators

/ Our Today

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators will be required to complete special courses on parliamentary procedures and practices in the standing orders.

The Government ministers will be required to complete a certain number of hours to be “parliamentary-certified in parliamentary affairs,” said Holness.

The courses form a part of the new accountability measures laid out for the political directorate amid backlash about the more than 200 per cent salary increase for some politicians.

“They must complete a certain number of hours… and become parliamentary-certified in the practice of parliamentary affairs. The first will be in parliamentary procedures and practices and in our Standing Orders,” said the Prime Minister.

A view of the Parliament of Jamaica from the gallery in Gordon House, Kingston. (Photo: JIS)

Holness made the announcement yesterday (May 22) during a press briefing, where he declared that he would not accept the new increase given to him under the Government’s Public sector Compensation review.

Additionally, Cabinet members will publish, at the beginning of each financial year starting 2024, the policy, administrative and legislative priorities, along with targets and performance indicators that they intend to achieve during the fiscal year.

This will be in the form of a ministry paper, after approval by the Prime Minister.

“Now, when we make these accountability measures, we have to be cognisant of how they change the nature of our parliamentary government. Cabinet has a fundamental principle of collective responsibility, so the action of one member is the responsibility, technically, of all members,” Holness said.

The headquarters of Jamaica’s Parliament, Gordon House in downtown Kingston. (Photo: Twitter @PressSecOPMJA)

“Dividing it up like this will bring individual pressures, and it might change certain dynamics, but I think it is necessary to bring the public to a point where they can have confidence that the cover of collective responsibility is not being taken advantage of, and that some ministers are working and others are not,” he argued.

The Prime Minister noted that each year before the Budget, the Cabinet goes on retreat, and each Minister declares what their priorities are, which he monitors and manages.

“But now, I will have the help of the public in monitoring and managing what the Ministers commit to do, in addition to what I give as directions to be done,” he noted.


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