Monday, 12 February 2018

NEWS FEED: Former Attorney General AJ Nicholson cautions PM Holness + Economy inches from “stable” to “positive” + NIDS begins pilot phase next January

POWER PLAY: In the wake of the controversial appointment of Bryan Sykes to the role of Jamaica’s new Chief Justice, former Attorney General A.J. Nicholson has strong words of caution for PM Andrew Holness. “As has been patiently pointed out, such an appointment severely trespasses upon the twin anchor on which the judiciary rests in a free and democratic society: security of tenure and independence,” Nicholson says. He hastens to emphasize that Holness has been “in breach” of legal and constitutional principles before, recalling the PM’s insistence that would-be senators sign undated letters of resignation, which “merely stipulated loyalty to him than to the Constitution. According to the former Attorney General, Holness is treading on dangerous ground. “Careful, Mr., Prime Minister!” he warns. “This business of being from a different age with a different way of thinking can easily ripen into a route to authoritarianism.” 

GOOD SIGN: Thanks to “macro-economic improvements” (in the words of Finance & Planning minister Audley Shaw), Jamaica’s economy has moved from “stable” to “positive,” according to the Ritch Ratings agency. Shaw chalks up this heartening turn of events to recent reduction in unemployment (10.3%, a 10-year low); stabilization of the Jamaican dollar; growth in the tourism and business process outsourcing industries; and a construction industry that is on the upswing. “We are moving in a very aggressive way to deal with all the fundamental issues that collectively militate against business and consumer confidence and investments and, by extension, growth,” says Shaw, speaking at an EU/Caribbean Investment Facility signing ceremony on February 1. “We have to make sure that we do the necessary things to make our country more appropriately aligned to global standards.” 

> Sound byte! 
“We have a large number of young persons who have no identification. Not having an ID puts you at a disadvantage. It stops you from having opportunities. This national ID is going to address that type of challenge that we now have within our country.” – Chief Technical Director at the OPM, Jacqueline Lynch-Stewart, at a recent town hall meeting about the National Identification System (NIDS), slated to commence its pilot project phase in January 2019

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