‘NO Constitutional Crisis Looming’, says Derrick Smith

The leader of government business in the House of Representatives, Derrick Smith, is describing as ‘unfounded’ suggestions that the Holness-administration may encounter a difficulty in passing the Appropriations Bill due to his potential absence.

Mr. Smith told our news center this morning that he’ll be in parliament when he needs to be there.

The Member of Parliament for North West St. Andrew says the media need not speculate because the budget will be successfully passed.

Mr. Smith is in Florida recuperating from surgery.

He told our news center today that he’s recovering well.

The MP was responding to a report in the Gleaner newspaper today which suggested that a constitutional crisis may be looming if he’s absent from the chamber of Gordon house next week when members will vote to approve the 2017/2018 estimates of expenditure.

The report notes that Smith’s possible absence would reduce the Government’s numbers to 31 – the same as the Opposition’s.

However, only 30 members of the Government will be allowed to vote, as the Speaker, under the rules of the House, is not allowed to vote unless there’s a tie.

The newspaper noted that the Opposition PNP has strongly criticized the current budget and Mr. Smith’s absence could create a parliamentary crisis given the government’s one seat majority.

Political Analyst Dr. Paul Ashley is of the view that it may be unethical for the parliamentary opposition to take advantage of the possible absence of Mr. Smith to block the passing of the budget.

He says such a move could backfire politically.

Speaking Tuesday morning on Cliff Hughes On Line, Dr. Ashley didn’t agree that there was a looming constitutional crisis.

However he says the opposition Members of Parliament ought not to seek to take advantage of the illness of a government member.

And, Dr. Ashley says with other members of parliament suffering from physical ailments the Prime Minister should take steps to alleviate the situation.

He says the Prime Minister is empowered by convention to call by-elections where the sitting Member of Parliament is prepared to retire.

The MP for South St. Andrew Dr. Omar Davies has already signaled that he’ll be retiring from politics before the next general election is constitutionally due.

So too the MP for South St James, Derrick Kellier.