Alicia Dunkley reports that 51 members of Jamaica’s Parliament voted for a Charter of Rights Bill, which had been the subject of intense debate for 17 years:
Yesterday, the Bill, An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica to Provide for A Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and for Connected Matters, was given overwhelming support with 51 MPs voting in favour. The Opposition People’s National Party’s (PNP’s) Dr Peter Phillips, Roger Clarke, Kern Spencer, Natalie Neita Headley, Dean Peart, Michael Peart, Dr Patrick Harris and the JLP’s Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange were absent for the vote.
The companion provision, an Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica, which was piloted simultaneously, was also approved with 50 votes in favour. Central Kingston member of parliament Ronald Thwaites refrained from voting.
The Bill, which has been before Parliament for nearly 17 years, provides for the protection of property rights; protection from searches; respect for private and family life and privacy of home and of communication; and the entitlement of every child who is a citizen to publicly funded education, in a public education institution at the pre-primary and primary levels, among other things.
Read more on Jamaica Observer.