Government Undermining Public Institutions - Johnson Smith

Release Date: 
Friday, July 11, 2014 - 16:00

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party today welcomed the decision of the Regulations Committee of the Senate to send back to the Senate, the regulation seeking to remove public transportation from the remit of the OUR.

Opposition Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, recommended that the order be annulled until there is more clarity on this matter. She said "The proposed move would take us back 20 years in terms of good governance and regulatory policy.  Not only was the Order tabled without notice to the OUR, but the Minister has given no explanation or justification to the stakeholders, the wider public or the Parliament for this action."

She added: "Furthermore, the Transport Authority Act, on which the Ministry of Transport & Works has said it intends to rely, does not address consumer protection or any of the transparent mechanisms for the setting of fares, enquiries or consultations which are included in the OUR Act."

She reminded that when the OUR Act was passed in 1995, the intent of Parliament was to create an independent regulatory agency to replace the Public Utilities Commission and rectify  deficiencies in the monitoring of sectors brought under the OUR.  Accordingly, if the Government passes this amendment without putting something else in place, it would be re-establishing those deficiencies for the sector.

According to Senator Johnson Smith, "The Cabinet’s approval of the regulation in this manner is just one of the recent actions by the government which lead us to believe that they are not working in the interest of probity and good governance. The people of Jamaica deserve a government that doesn't just speak about transparency, but is actually transparent and respectful of our institutions."

The Opposition Senator maintained that in the interest of Jamaica's need for growth and development, the government needs to stop undermining its own institutions.

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