Opposition Leader Mark Golding has raised concern that sittings of the COVID-19 parliamentary committee have come to a halt.
The eight-member committee was appointed in March to oversee Jamaica's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It held only a few sittings.
Mr. Golding, who was officially appointed Opposition Leader on Tuesday, addressed the House of Representatives on the matter later in parliament.
"We note that the parliamentary committee on COVID, that was established earlier in the year, stopped meeting before the recent general election, and despite the intensification of the public health crisis since the election, that committee has not been reconstituted. As a result, the opposition no longer has an inclusive voice in strategising with the government in response to the pandemic crisis. I invite the government to reconsider the exclusion of the opposition in that way," he asserted.
While pledging to lead a robust Opposition, Mr. Golding also revived the issue of opposition members chairing parliamentary committees, urging the Prime Minister to reconsider his reversal of the convention started in 2007 by then Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
"The Prime Minister's decision to depart from the convention and have government members chair all but two of the sessional committees has weakened parliamentary oversight of the executive. Calls have been made by civil society and the media to restore the convention, along with useful suggestions to strengthen the process. I urge the Prime Minister once again to reconsider this matter and to reinstate opposition chairmanship of the sessional committees," Mr. Golding pleaded.