In a press release today (Wednesday, March 30) the Jamaica Forum for All-sexuals and Gays called upon the members of the Upper house of Parliament to ensure that they capitalize on the present opportunity to decisively protect the human rights of all Jamaicans. The Senate is expected to meet for two days beginning the 31st March, to discuss the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms whereby it is expected the Bill will be passed with complete Bi-partisan support.
J-FLAG has noted that by “Passing the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms without clear recognition that disability, health status and sexual orientation are the grounds for non-discrimination in Section 13 (3)(i) would be to undermine the strides that have been made globally to guarantee human rights for all persons in a society. At a minimum, J-FLAG proposes that Section 13 (3)(i) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms simply reads ‘the right to freedom from discrimination”.
J-Flag’s press release represents an appeal to the collective conscience of the Senate, as this is the final Parliamentary hurdle that the bill is required to clear. The Senate may choose to amend the Bill on the floor of the house. However, should the Senate choose this route; the Bill will be sent back to the Lower House for further deliberations by Members of Parliament (MPs). MPs can impose their will on the Senate by re-submitting the original Bill to the Senate whereby Senators must approve the Submission.
The Senate (or Upper House of the Jamaican Parliament) is made up of 21 senators, with thirteen (13) so selected on the basis of recommendations by the Prime Minister and eight (8) by the Leader of the Opposition. All senators are appointed by the Governor-General. The role of the Senate is usually to operate as a review body for Bills passed by the lower house (the House of Representatives).
To see a full text of the JFLAG press release please click OPPORTUNITY RIPE FOR SENATE TO SECURE RIGHTS OF ALL_March30_2011. The list of Senators is:
|10. Senator Desmond Anthony Augustus McKenzie|
|11. Senator Thomas George Lewis Tavares-Finson|
|12. Senator the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte|
|13. Senator Ian Murray|
|14. Senator Arnold Joseph Nicholson, QC – Leader of Opposition Business|
|15. Senator Navel Foster Clarke|
|16. Senator Sandrea May Falconer|
|17. Senator Mark Jefferson Golding|
|18. Senator Norman Washington Grant|
|19. Senator Keith Desmond St. Aubyn Knight, QC|
|20. Senator Noel Bancroft Sloley|
|21. Senator Basil Llewellyn M’Wallimu Burnett Waite|