Stevian Simmonds reports

Outgoing People’s National Party, PNP, President and Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, says he does not intend to fill the now-vacant Opposition Senate seat.

In a statement this afternoon, Dr. Phillips says naming the new Senate member should be the remit of the next Opposition Leader.

Dr. Phillips says his decision to appoint the members of the Senate on September 14, 2020, was in furtherance of his Constitutional duty as Leader of the Opposition.

This, he says, was to ensure that the legislative obligations of the Parliament could be advanced.

According to Dr Phillips, the entire slate of Senators-designate was named, after full consultation with each person recommended for appointment.

The outgoing Opposition Leader says at that time, no date had been set by the PNP’s National Executive Council, NEC, for a special delegates conference to elect the next Party Leader.

He says since then, a date has been set, which is less than three weeks away.

Dr Phillips says as a consequence, the decision to name a new member to the Senate is best left to the next Leader of the Opposition.

A vacancy was left after Senator-designate, Norman Horne, signaled his intention not to take up the post.

Mr. Horne explained that he missed the September 15 swearing-in of the other Senators because he had to travel overseas to fulfill obligations to his children in light of the back to school period.

He says he was subjected to quarantine on his return due to the existing COVID-19 protocols.

But, since then Mr. Horne says in the spirit of the Jamaican Constitution, he believes the right to appoint Opposition Senators should reside solely with the Governor-General acting on the advice of the next Leader of the Opposition.

The special delegates conference to elect the next PNP President is scheduled for November 7.