Sat | Sep 21, 2019

Justice prevailed with NIDS ruling

Published:Monday | April 15, 2019 | 12:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Jamaica on the constitutionality of the National Identification Systems (NIDS) is a stark reminder that all is not lost with our justice system.

Now, because of the Government’s reckless and contemptuous actions, millions of dollars have been thrown down the drain, which will have to be repaid by already-overburdened taxpayers.

What is even more reckless and contemptuous is that the Government recently signed a contract for $31.7 million for a local consortium to provide critical data centre hardware for NIDS, all this with the court ruling still hanging over their heads.

Mr Holness had better be careful that he does not go down in history as ‘Papa Unconstitutional’ for his frequent run-in with the constitutional courts of Jamaica.

What are the motives of Mr Holness and his government with this NIDS? They rushed it through both houses of Parliament, despite several concerns raised.

ACCOUNTABILITY

It went through the Senate with over 180 amendments, which shows that there were inherent weaknesses in how the bill was drafted. Now, who is going to be held accountable for this fiasco, remembering that the funding for NIDS is from an IDB loan?

Imagine a Government using its majority to rush through a bill in our Parliament that infringes on our Constitution and the rights of ordinary citizens. This is of great concern. In any serious jurisdiction, those responsible would voluntarily offer their heads to the chopping block, but in Jamaica it is business as usual, even when it is a blatant business unusual.This sticky situation of ‘hard ears’ that the Government has found themselves in has been a constant feature ever since they formed the Government in 2016. They listen to no one; they are ‘Mr know-it-all’.

I hope this ruling by the court will make them change their ways in how they deal with our participatory democracy, and make them reflect on the notion that even the dull and the ignorant have a story.

FERNANDEZ SMITH

Former JLP Councillor

fgeesmith@yahoo.com