Govt. business will continue in Parliament – Minister Bulkan
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, has said that there is no restriction on the meeting of the National Assembly, since the body has not been dissolved.
And while Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that no Bills should be passed at this time, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, has responded “Well, thankfully, he doesn’t run things.”
At present, Government is pushing forward with a move to have two Bills tabled and passed in the National Assembly. They are, according to the Extraordinary Gazettes of July 8, 2019, Bill No. 10 of 2019, the Adoption of Children (Amendment) Bill 2019; and Bill No. 11 of 2019, the Restorative Justice Bill 2019.
A date has not yet been published for the tabling of the Bills.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has declared that the Government is in a ‘caretaker’ capacity. But while there are to be restrictions on its operations, the absence of firm precedents to draw from, leave many to speculate on what constitutes acting in a ‘caretaker’ capacity.
Minister Bulkan said, yesterday, that since Government is in that capacity, it would only be conducting routine activities. Asked whether the laying of Bills is considered routine, Bulkan said, “What I can say is that Parliament has not been dissolved. I see no restriction on Parliament meeting with regards to laying of Bills.”
On the opposing side, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, has said that no Bills should be passed at this time.
The Opposition Leader said in a recent press conference, “If Basil Williams doesn’t understand what Caretaker government means, it means no legislation can be originated now… So there will be no further legislative process.”
He has also called for Parliament to be dissolved.
He said, “It follows… Because if elections have to be held within three months, the next step that follows is the dissolution of Parliament…The position is that the President must now comply with the ruling of the CCJ, and must dissolve Parliament.”
Government had also announced its intention to make an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Control Act, with the aim of removing custodial sentences for the possession of small quantities of marijuana.