Executive Powers

Section 1. (1) The executive authority of Jamaica is vested in Her Majesty.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive authority of Jamaica may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor-General either directly or through officers subordinate to him.

(3) Nothing in this section shall prevent Parliament from conferring functions on persons or authorities other than the Governor-General.

Section 2. (1) There shall be in and for Jamaica a Cabinet which shall consist of the Prime Minister and such number of other Ministers (not being less than eleven) selected from among Ministers appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 70 of this Constitution as the Prime Minister may from time to time consider appropriate.

(2) The Cabinet shall be the principal instrument of policy and shall be charged with the general direction and control of the Government of Jamaica and shall be collectively responsible therefore to Parliament.

(3) Not less than two nor more than four of the Ministers selected pursuant to subsection (1) shall be persons who are members of the Senate.

Section 3. (1) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he, acting in his discretion, shall appoint the member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of that House and shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint from among the members of the two Houses such number of other Ministers as the Prime Minister may advise.

(2)[Deleted by Act 16 of 1986.]

(3) If occasion arises for making an appointment while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a member of the House of Representatives immediately before the dissolution may be appointed Prime Minister and a person who was a member of either House immediately before the dissolution may, subject to the provisions of subsection of this section, be appointed as any other Minister as if, in each case, such person were still a member of the House in question, but any person so appointed shall vacate office at the beginning of the next session of that House if he is not then a member thereof.

(4) Appointments under this section shall be made by instrument under the Broad Seal.

Section 4. (1) The office of Prime Minister shall become vacant -

  1. if he resigns his office;
  2. if he ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives otherwise than by a dissolution of Parliament;
  3. if, under the provisions of subsection (3) or subsection (4) of section 41 of this Constitution, he is required to cease to exercise any of his functions as a member of the House of Representatives
  4. when, after any dissolution of Parliament, the Prime Minister is informed by the Governor-General, acting in his discretion, that the Governor-General is about to re-appoint him as Prime Minister or appoint another person as Prime Minister; or
  5. if the Governor-General revokes his appointment in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section.
(2) If the House of Representatives by a resolution which has received the affirmative vote of a majority of all the members thereof has resolved that the appointment of the Prime Minister ought to be revoked, the Governor-General shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, by instrument under the Broad Seal, revoke his appointment.

(3) If the House of Representatives has passed a resolution as provided by subsection (2) of this section that the appointment of the Prime Minister ought to be revoked, the Governor-General shall consult with the Prime Minister and, if the Prime Minister within three days so requests, the Governor-General shall dissolve Parliament instead of revoking the appointment.

(4) The office of a Minister, other than the office of Prime Minister, shall become vacant-
  1. upon the appointment or re-appointment of any person to the office of Prime Minister;
  2. if  his appointment to his office is revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Broad Seal;
  3. if, for any reason other than a dissolution of Parliament, he ceases to be a member of the House of which he was a member at the date of his appointment as a Minister;
  4. if under the provisions of subsection (3) or subsection (4) of section 41 of this Constitution, he is required to cease to exercise any of his functions as a member of either House; or
  5. if he resigns his office.
Section 5. (1) Whenever the Prime Minister is unable, by reason of his illness or absence from Jamaica, to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, authorise any other Minister who is a member of the House of Representatives to perform the functions conferred on the Prime Minister by this Constitution (other than the functions conferred on him by subsection (3) of this section).

(2) The Governor-General may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, revoke any authority given under this section.

(3) The power conferred on the Governor-General by this section shall be exercised by him acting in his discretion if in his opinion it is impracticable to obtain the advice of the Prime Minister owing to the Prime Minister's illness or absence, and in any other case shall be exercised by the Governor-General in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Section 6. (1) Whenever a Minister other than the Prime Minister is unable, by reason of his illness or absence from Jamaica, to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, appoint a person who is a member of the same House as that Minister to be a temporary Minister:
  • Provided that if occasion arises for making an appointment while Parliament is dissolved, a person who, immediately before the dissolution, was a member of the same House as the aforesaid Minister, may be appointed as a temporary Minister as if he were still a member of that House but any person so appointed shall, vacate office at the beginning of the next session of that House if he is not then a member thereof.
(2) Subject to the provisions of section 71 of this Constitution a temporary Minister shall hold office until he is notified by the Governor-General, by instrument under the Broad Seal, that the Minister on account of whose inability to perform the functions of his office he was appointed is again able to perform those functions or until that Minister vacates his office.

(3) The powers conferred on the Governor-General by this section shall be exercised by him in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

Section 7. The Prime Minister and every other Minister shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, make before the Governor-General the oath of allegiance and the appropriate oath for the due execution of his office in the forms set out in the First Schedule to this Constitution.

Section 8. The Prime Minister shall, so far as is practicable, attend and preside at all meetings of the Cabinet and in his absence such other Minister shall preside as the Prime Minister shall appoint.

Section 9. The Prime Minister shall keep the Governor-General fully informed concerning the general conduct of the government of Jamaica and shall furnish the Governor-General with such information as he may request with respect to any particular matter relating to the government of Jamaica.

Section 10. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may, by directions in writing, charge any Minister who is a member of the House of Representatives, or (except in so far as may be inconsistent with any Ministerial functions under section 67, 115, 116 or 118 of this Constitution) who is a member of the Senate with the responsibility for any subject or any department of government.

(2) Nothing in this section shall empower the Governor-General to confer on any Minister authority to exercise any power or to discharge any duty that is conferred or imposed by this Constitution or any other law on the Governor-General or any person or authority other than that Minister.

(3) With the approval of the House of Representatives signified by a resolution directions in writing made under subsection (1) of this section may be given retroactive effect.

Section 11. (1) The Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, appoint Parliamentary Secretaries from among the members of the two Houses to assist Ministers in the discharge of their functions.

(2)[Deleted by Act 1 of 1977.]

(3) If occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of Parliamentary Secretary while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a member of either House of the last Parliament may be appointed as if he were still a member of that House but any person so appointed shall vacate office at the beginning of the next session of that House if he is not then a member thereof.

(4) The provisions of subsection (4) of section 71 and section 74 of this Constitution shall apply to Parliamentary Secretaries as they apply to Ministers.

Section 12. (1) There shall be an Attorney-General who shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government of Jamaica.

(2) Power to appoint a person to hold or act in the office of Attorney-General and to remove from that office a person holding or acting in it shall, subject to subsection (4) of this section, be exercised by the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.

(3) Any person appointed to hold or act in the office of Attorney-General in pursuance of subsection (2) of this section shall not, except in accordance with the provisions of section 70 of this Constitution, be appointed a Minister.

(4) Until an appointment of a person to hold or act in the office of Attorney-General is first made under the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, it shall be a public office and a person shall not be qualified to hold or act in that office unless he is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

(5) On the occasion of the first appointment of a person to hold or act in the office of Attorney-General under the provisions of subsection (2) of this section, the office of Attorney-General as a public office shall be deemed to have been abolished.

Section 13. (1) There shall be a Leader of the Opposition who shall be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal.

(2) Whenever the Governor-General has occasion to appoint a Leader of the Opposition he shall, in his discretion, appoint the member of the House of Representatives who, in his judgment, is best able to command the support of a majority of those members who do not support the Government, or, if there is no such person, the member of that House who, in his judgment, commands the support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader.

(3) The office of Leader of the Opposition shall become vacant-

  1. if he resigns his office;
  2. if, after any dissolution of Parliament, he is informed by the Governor-General acting in his discretion that the Governor-General is about to appoint another person as Leader of the Opposition;
  3. if he ceases to be a member of the House of Representatives otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of Parliament;
  4. if, under the provisions of subsection (3) or subsection (4) of section 41 of this Constitution, he is required to cease to exercise any of his functions as a member of the House of Representatives; or
  5. if his appointment is revoked under the provisions of subsection (5) of this section.
(4) If occasion arises for making an appointment while Parliament is dissolved, a person who was a member of the House of Representatives immediately before the dissolution may be appointed Leader of the Opposition as if such person were still a member of that House but the person so appointed shall vacate office at the beginning of the next session of that House if he is not a member thereof.

(5) If, in the judgment of the Governor-General, the Leader of the Opposition no longer is able to command the support of a majority of those members of the House of Representatives who do not support the Government, or, as the case may be, the support of the largest single group of such members who are prepared to support one leader, the Governor-General, acting in his discretion, shall revoke the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition.

Section 14. During any period in which there is a vacancy in the, office of Leader of the Opposition by reason of the fact that no person is both qualified in accordance with this Constitution for, and willing to accept, appointment to that office, the Governor-General shall act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister on any matter in respect of which it is provided in this Constitution either -

1. that the Governor-General shall act on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, or

2. that the Governor-General shall act on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

Section 15. (1) There shall be in and for Jamaica a Privy Council which shall consist of six members appointed by the Governor-General, after consultation with the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Broad Seal.

(2) At least two of the members of the Privy Council shall be persons who hold or have held public office.

(3) The Privy Council shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred or imposed upon it by or under this Constitution or any other law.

Section 16. (1) The seat of a member of the Privy Council shall become vacant -

  1. at the expiration of three years from the date of his appointment or such earlier time as may be specified in the instrument by which he was appointed;
  2. if he resigns his seat; or
  3. if his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General, acting after consultation with the Prime Minister, by instrument under the Broad Seal.
(2) If any person is appointed to be a provisional member of the Privy Council under section 85 of this Constitution and his tenure of his seat as a provisional member is immediately followed by his substantive appointment as a member under this section, the period of three years referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section shall be reckoned from the date of the instrument by which he was appointed a provisional member.

Section 17. The Governor-General, acting after consultation with the Prime Minister, may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, declare that a member of the Privy Council, is by reason of absence or infirmity of body or mind, temporarily unable to discharge his functions as a member of the Council, and thereupon that member shall not take part in the proceedings of the Council until he is declared in like manner to be again able to discharge those functions.

Section 18. (1) Whenever a member of the Privy Council has, under section 84 of this Constitution, been declared to be temporarily-unable to discharge his functions as a member, the Governor-General, acting after consultation with the Prime Minister, may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, appoint a person to be a provisional member in place of that member during the period until that member is declared under section 84 of this Constitution to be again able to discharge those functions or vacates his seat.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the provisions of subsection (1) of section 83 of this Constitution shall apply in relation to a provisional member of the Privy Council as they apply in relation to a substantive member.

Section 19. (1) The Governor-General, after consultation with the Prime Minister, shall appoint one of the members of the Privy Council to be the Senior Member thereof.

(2) If on any question the votes of the members of the Privy Council are equally divided the Senior Member shall have and exercise a casting vote in addition to his original vote.

(3) the Senior Member shall preside over any meeting of the Privy Council at which the Governor-General is not present.

(4) If at any meeting of the Privy Council the Senior Member is absent, the members present shall elect one of their number to exercise the powers and to perform the duties of the Senior Member at that meeting.

Section 20. The Governor-General shall, so far as is practicable, attend and preside at all meetings of the Privy Council.

Section 21. (1) The Privy Council shall not be summoned except by the authority of the Governor-General acting in his discretion.

(2) If, during any meeting of the Privy Council, the Governor-General or member presiding observes, upon objection in that behalf being taken by any member present, that there are present less than three members besides the Governor-General or member presiding, he shall thereupon adjourn the meeting.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Privy Council may regulate its own procedure.

Section 22. The Privy Council shall not be disqualified for the transaction of business by reason only of any vacancy among its members (including any vacancy not filled when it is first constituted or is reconstituted at any time), and any proceeding therein shall be valid notwithstanding that some person who was not entitled so to do took part therein.

Section 23. (1) The Governor-General may, in Her Majesty's name and on Her Majesty's behalf -

  1. grant to any person convicted of any offence against the law of Jamaica a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;
  2. grant to any person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;
  3. substitute a less severe form of punishment for that imposed on any person for such an offence; or
  4. remit the whole or part of any punishment imposed on any person for such an offense or any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the Crown on account of such an offence.
(2) In the exercise of the powers conferred on him by this section the Governor-General shall act on the recommendation of the Privy Council.

Section 24. (1) Where any person has been sentenced to death for an offense against the law of Jamaica, the Governor-General shall cause a written report of the case from the trial judge, together with such other information derived from the record of the case or elsewhere as the Governor-General may require, to be forwarded to the Privy Council so that the Privy Council may advise him in accordance with the provisions of section 90 of this Constitution.

(2) The power of requiring information conferred on the Governor-General by subsection (1) of this section shall be exercised by him on the recommendation of the Privy Council or, in any case in which in his judgment the matter is too urgent to admit of such recommendation being obtained by the time within which it may be necessary for him to act, in his discretion.

Section 25. (1) There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet who shall be appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, from a list of public officers submitted by the Public Service Commission.

(2) The Secretary to the Cabinet shall have charge of the Cabinet Office and shall be responsible, in accordance with such instructions as may be given to him by the Prime Minister, for arranging the business for, and keeping the minutes of, the meetings of the Cabinet and for conveying the decisions of the Cabinet to the appropriate person or authority, and shall have such other functions as the Prime Minister may from time to time direct.

Section 26. (1) Where any Minister has been charged with the responsibility for a subject or department of government, he shall exercise general direction and control over the work relating to that subject and over that department; and, subject as aforesaid and to such direction and control, the aforesaid work and the department shall be under the supervision of a Permanent Secretary appointed in accordance with the provisions of section 126 of this Constitution.

(2) A person may be a Permanent Secretary in respect of more than one department of government.

(3) The office of Financial Secretary is hereby constituted and, for the purposes of this section, he shall be deemed to be a Permanent Secretary.

Section 27. (1) There shall be a Director of Public Prosecutions, whose office shall be a public office.

(2) A person shall not be qualified to hold or act in the office of Director of Public Prosecutions unless he is qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

(3) The Director of Public Prosecutions shall have power in any case in which he considers it desirable so to do -

  1. to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court other than a court-martial in respect of any offense against the law of Jamaica;
  2. to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and
  3. to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority.
(4) The powers of the Director of Public Prosecutions under subsection (3) of this section may be exercised by him in person or through other persons acting under and in accordance with his general or special instructions.

(5) The powers conferred upon the Director of Public Prosecutions by paragraphs (b) and (c) of subsection (3) of this section shall be vested in him to the exclusion of any other person or authority:
Provided that where any other person or authority has instituted criminal proceedings, nothing in this subsection shall prevent the withdrawal of those proceedings by or at the instance of that person or authority and with the leave of the Court.

(6) In the exercise of the powers conferred upon him by this section the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.

(7) For the purposes of this section, any appeal from any determination in any criminal proceedings before any court, or any case stated or question of law reserved for the purposes of any such proceedings, to any other court in Jamaica or to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council shall be deemed to be part of those proceedings.

Section 28. (1) The Director of Public Prosecutions shall receive such emoluments and be subject to such other terms and conditions of service as may from time to time be prescribed by or under any law:
  • Provided that the emoluments and terms and conditions of service of the Director of Public Prosecutions, other than allowances that are not taken into account in computing pensions, shall not be altered to his disadvantage during his continuance in office.
(2) The salary for the time being payable to the Director of Public Prosecutions under this Constitution shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

Section 29. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) to (7) (inclusive) of this section the Director of Public Prosecutions shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty years:
Provided that -
  1. he may at any time resign his office; and
  2. Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, may permit a Director of Public Prosecutions who has attained the age of sixty years to continue in office until he has attained such later age, not exceeding sixty five years, as may (before the Director of Public Prosecutions has attained the age of sixty years) have been agreed between them.
(2) Nothing done by the Director of Public Prosecutions shall be invalid by reason only that he has attained the age at which he is required by this section to vacate his office.

(3) If the office of Director of Public Prosecutions is vacant or the holder of that office is for any reason unable to perform the functions thereof, a person qualified for appointment to that office may be appointed to act therein, and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, continue to act until the office of Director of Public Prosecutions is filled or, as the case may be, until the Director of Public Prosecutions has resumed the functions of his office or the appointment of that person is revoked by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission.

(4) The Director of Public Prosecutions may be removed from office only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(5) The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be removed from office by the Governor-General if the question of his removal from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under subsection (6) of this section and the tribunal has recommended to the Governor-General that he ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.

(6) If the Prime Minister represents to the Governor-General that the question of removing the Director of Public Prosecutions from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour ought to be investigated then -

  1. the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, shall appoint a tribunal, which shall consist of a chairman and not less than two other members, from among persons who hold or have held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court; and
  2. that tribunal shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor-General and recommend to the Governor-General whether the Director of Public Prosecutions ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.
(7) The provisions of the Commissions of Enquiry Act as in force immediately before the appointed day shall, subject to the provisions of this section and of the Third Schedule to this Constitution, apply as nearly as may be in relation to tribunals appointed under subsection (6) of this section or, as the context may require, to the members thereof as they apply in relation to Commissions or Commissioners appointed under that Act, and for that purpose shall have effect as if they formed part of this Constitution.

(8) If the question of removing the Director of Public Prosecutions from office has been referred to a tribunal under subsection (6) of this section, the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may suspend the Director of Public Prosecutions from performing the functions of his office, and any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, and shall in any case cease to have effect if the tribunal recommends to the Governor-General that the Director of Public Prosecutions should not be removed from office.