The Gleaner

KINGSTON, JAMAICA 60 PAGES This is poison! Budget is ‘ i ’ INCLUDING GCT $50 Phillips’ tax measures not the ‘bitter medicine’ JLP promised – Holness


VOLUME 178 NO. 130

FRIDAY, JUNE 1, 2012

Good going, Gifton

Edmond Campbell Senior Staff Reporter A N ‘EMOTIONAL’ Andrew Holness yesterday told Jamaicans that the “medicine” dispensed by Finance and Planning Minister Dr Peter Phillips last week was not the “bitter” prescription his then Jamaica Labour Party govern- ment had proposed last year. Holness said the new measures were “poison” and had the effect of further impoverishing the poor, “killing businesses” and reducing growth in the economy. “The tax package that is presented now, many persons are saying, is this the bitter medicine? Well, let me just say from the outset, it was never the intention of my government to

present the tax package that you pre- sented,” Holness told Phillips. Holness, in his first contribution to the Budget Debate as opposition leader, said Phillips went wide of the mark as he appeared to have confused tax reform with the tax measures announced. “You have an opportunity to reform the tax system in Jamaica and you have turned the opportuni- ty into a crisis,” he charged. In the run-up to the December 2011 general election, Holness had warned the country that his then administration would have very lit- tle option but to dispense bitter medicine in what appeared to have

NORMAN GRINDLEY/CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER Opposition Leader Andrew Holness makes his contribution to the Budget Debate yesterday.

Distractions Opposition leader says Gov’t making weak attempts at veiling plight of poor


Daraine Luton Senior Staff Reporter

Despite the Government having 42 members in the House of Representatives, compared to the Opposition’s 21, the Simpson Miller administration could have difficul- ties in securing the necessary consti- tutional amendments to replace the Privy Council with the CCJ as the country’s final court of appeal. SECURING AMENDMENT In order to amend the Constitution, a two-thirds majority is required in both houses of Parliament. It means that all Government members in both Houses would have to vote yes, and at least one opposition senator would have to side with the Government in the Senate if a bill to establish the CCJ is to see successful passage. In the case of moving to republic status, the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority ‘yes’ vote in the House of Representatives, as well as approval in a referendum. Holness yesterday said the Opposition “will resist any move to introduce any kind of politics to distract from the important issue of restoring the Jamaican economy”. “Right now, the only focus of any government is to get our debt down, get our revenues up, get growth going, provide education for our people; that is the sole focus now of any government,” the opposition leader said. Simpson Miller, in her inaugural speech as prime minister in January, had declared that the time had come to part with the Queen as head of state. In March, she signalled that dis- cussions were taking place with the Opposition to determine the way forward on the matter. daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com

IT APPEARS that Jamaica will not be able to make any substantial headway in its quest to replace the Queen as its head of state. Similarly, it seems unlikely that the country will be able to abolish appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and sign on to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in its full jurisdiction. Andrew Holness, the leader of the opposition, yesterday labelled the proposed changes as distractions. In making his contribution to the 2012-13 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, Holness said Jamaica has practised “a poli- tics that distracts us from the impor- tant focus of building our economy”. “We hear another kind of distrac- tion coming, a kind of distraction about CCJ and Queen. You will have my support when you tell me how CCJ and Queen are going to help end poverty in Jamaica,” Holness said. “For too long, we have been dis- tracted,” Holness continued. HOLNESS HECKLED But government members, many of whom heckled the opposition leader, rejected his posture. The governing People’s National Party (PNP), in its election mani- festo, said it would be moving this year to sign on to the CCJ in both original and appellate jurisdictions. Last month, in delivering the Throne Speech, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen announced that the Government would be seeking to pass, this year, a bill intended to make the CCJ Jamaica’s final court of appeal. At the time, Holness said the Opposition “will have to examine in detail and engage in significant discussion”.

PHOTO BY BILL CLARK The Gleaner’s Children’s Own Spelling Bee champion, Gifton Wright, made it to the Scripps National Spelling Bee final at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, United States, yesterday, where he tied for fourth out of 278 spellers in the competition that started earlier this week. After an amazing run, Gifton’s par- ticipation ended on the word E-R-I-C-E-T-I-C-O-L-O-U-S, which means inhabiting a heath or similar habitat.


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