Campbell urges authorities not to proceed with  passing Bill
February 4, 2011
Campbell urges authorities not to proceed with passing Bill

Queen’s Counsel Parnell Campbell is pleading with parliamentarians to maturely consider any amendments to be made to the Representation of the People Act, which will be debated in the House of Parliament on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.{{more}}

Speaking on his programme The Law and You on Monday, January 31, Campbell, who is a former Attorney General, stated that he is respectfully and earnestly urging the authorities not to proceed with the passing of the Bill.

The Bill seeks to amend section 51 of the Representation of the People Act, by repealing subsections (3) and (4).

Subsection (3) of section 51 states: “Any person who, before or during an election, for the purpose of affecting the return of any candidate or prospective candidate at such election, makes or publishes any false statement in fact or in relation to the personal character or conduct of such candidate is guilty of an illegal practice and liable to a fine of $750 and to imprisonment for one year.”

Subsection (4) states: “Any person who is convicted of any offence declared to be an illegal practice under this or any other section of this Act shall, in addition to any other penalty for such offence, be incapable during a period of five years from the date of his conviction (a) of being registered as a voter at any election; and (b) of being elected or appointed as a member of the House of Assembly, or if elected or appointed before his conviction, of retaining his seat as such member: Provided that in the event of any appeal, the incapacity shall continue until the appeal is determined and thereafter, unless the conviction is quashed, remain in force for a period of five years from the determination of the appeal unless the Court hearing the appeal directs that the period of five years shall run from the date of conviction.”

Campbell advised that if the Bill is debated that a select committee should be formed to make a more mature decision on any amendments.

“I plead with those who are in government, that this Bill requires mature consideration and that I will honestly hope that at the end of the debate it will be referred to a select committee…” Campbell said.

He added that he is willing to give his recommendations to the authorities, stating that he hopes good sense would prevail in the matter.