Donna Scott Mottley
The People's National Party (PNP) is calling for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to have a State of Public Emergency declared to put an end to the debate whether constitutional procedure was followed in declaring Jamaica a disaster area.
Constitutional lawyer Dr. Lloyd Barnett has said the Holness administration did not follow procedure in making the declaration which enabled it to exercise emergency powers, including the quarantining of communities.
Former Solicitor General Michael Hylton disagrees.
Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte maintains that the government acted appropriately.
Opposition Spokesman on Justice Senator Donna Scott Mottley PNP calls for Holness to declare state of emergency to end controversy amid COVID-19 crisis says there must be a united effort to protect all Jamaicans at this time.
"I want the government to succeed. If the government succeeds in how it handles this matter, everybody succeeds and that is why I think it is critical that the public supports the measure. Now it is very important that whatever we do, we do within the context of the constitution, and I was extremely concerned when the Attorney General said "this is not a time for niceties" because the constitution is not a nicety. It is supreme law that governs everything that we do," she contended.
Senator Scott Mottley said the PNP did not speak sooner on the issue as it did not want to take away from the seriousness of the global health crisis.
"As a responsible opposition, you need to sometimes just keep quiet. If we had raised it at that stage, the public would have been concerned that what we would be doing is undermining the government. The public wants to feel safe, the public wants to be assured that there government knows what it is doing. It's not every situation that it's appropriate for the opposition to come out and say 'no, you're doing the wrong thing.'"