The House was asked to vote on the following motion moved by Prime Minister Bruce Golding two weeks ago:
'Be it resolved that this Honourable House : (a) affirms its support for the retention of the death penalty as specified in the Offences Against the Person Act; (b) declares its support for the removal of the death penalty as specified in the Offences Against the Person Act.'
Two separate votes were taken, on (a) and (b) respectively, requiring an "aye" or a "nay" from each member present as his/her name was called.
On (a), 34 members voted "aye", 15 voted "nay". There were eight absentees.
Well, what does this all mean? Simple. The Jamaica people are very tired of all the violence in the country. People understood that years ago that justice was swift and fear of death was what kept many of the "bad man" in check.
I found it interesting that "Portia" was absent for the vote. Portia Simpson Miller told her party's National Executive Council on Sunday that she would have been absent from yesterday's conscience vote because of a previous engagement. She, however, did not give details as to the nature of that engagement.
The issue will now move to the floor of the Senate, where a debate is not necessary, since there is no need to change the law, but is to be included since it was a recommendation of the Joint Select Committee which reviewed the Charter of Rights.