The Jamaica Observer reported that the vote was taken at 5.59 pm without drama, when the Bill – An Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica to Provide for a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and for Connected Matters – was given overwhelming support with 51 MPs voting in favour. Nine MPs were absent for the vote.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding, whose administration was finally successful in passing the Charter of Rights Bill after 20 years of discussion and debate.
The companion provision, an Act to Amend the Constitution of Jamaica, which was piloted simultaneously, was also approved with 50 votes in favour.
At the end of the voting, MPs from both sides of the house rose to their feet applauding.
Opposition leader, Portia Simpson Miller said, “We should do this more often.”
Debate on the new Charter, which will replace Chapter III of the present Constitution, has crossed both political party administrations, with the Bruce Golding-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government being the latest to resume the dialogue in October 2009 but even then there were setbacks.
(Parts of this article were written with content incorporated from a Caribbeannewsnow release)