Parliament Dissolves Today

The Houses of Parliament will dissolve effective today (December 8), ahead of the December 29 General Election.

This means that all sittings of the House of Representatives and the Senate will end until a new government is formed.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, told yesterday’s (December 7) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House that all the necessary documents have been signed to allow for the dissolution.

Mr. Chuck, who has ministerial responsibility for electoral matters, said that the timeline from the announcement of election day to the dissolution of Parliament and the December 12 nomination date, is well within the provisions of the Constitution.

“Certainly, when the Prime Minister announced the election date on Sunday (Dec. 4), by Monday (Dec. 5) I signed the necessary documentation as the Minister in charge of electoral matters, to instruct the gazetting of the nomination day and also the election day, so the announcement was five clear days to nomination day. The dissolution of Parliament can be anytime between the announcement and nomination day,” he stated.

He explained further that “when a Prime Minister announces an election day, that is the announcement considered in the Constitution. He advises by letter, to the Governor-General, to dissolve Parliament. Obviously, the dissolution of Parliament must be before nomination day…so the fact that it is going to be dissolved…this Thursday (Dec. 8) is well within the understanding of the Constitution.”

Dissolution of Parliament ends the life of a legislature at the call of an election.

Usually, there is a maximum length of a legislature (five years in the case of Jamaica), but early dissolutions are allowed in many jurisdictions.

Dissolution differs from the proroguing of Parliament, which means bringing an end to a session of Parliament, usually at the end of a legislative year, without dissolving either House and, therefore, without a subsequent election.

Prorogation has the effect of terminating all business pending before the houses, although in certain circumstances, it can be resumed in a new session. Parliament does not meet again until the date specified in the proroguing proclamation, or until the Houses are summoned to meet again by the Governor-General.