by Balford Henry
Kingston, Jamaica (Jamaica Observer) – OPPOSITION Leader Mark Golding said yesterday that he is still dissatisfied with the concentration of executive power in the hands of the Government, under Tuesday’s amendments to the Disaster Risk Management (Amendment) Act (DRMA).
Asked by journalists whether he was satisfied with approval of the amendments to the new Bill, Golding told a People’s National Party (PNP) press briefing at his official office that he maintains his position against the changes, despite his decision that the Opposition would not vote against the changes to the Act.
Golding told the House of Representatives during the debate that he was concerned that a fundamental change in the Bill, which would allow the Government to create new offences by ministerial order without the approval of Parliament, could open it up to abuse.
He told the briefing that he was not satisfied that the point he was making was not strong enough to sway the huge Government majority in the House of Representatives to support his view, and that it would allow the prime minister to criminalize conduct under the provisions of the Act without parliamentary approval.
“The point I was making was that the Disaster Risk Management (Amendment) Act, which was passed [initially] in 2013, allows the prime minister to make laws under Section 26 where there is a disaster, but did not make breaches of those orders a criminal offence,” he said.