Nov 10, 2012 News
Although the National Assembly was abruptly suspended on Thursday following moves by the parliamentary opposition to prevent Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, from moving the second reading of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill, two new Bills were successfully tabled.
These were the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill and the Business Names (Registration) (Amendment) Bill. The first reading of the Sexual Offences Bill was moved by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall.
According to the explanatory memorandum, Clause three of the Bill seeks to amend section 74 (3) of the Sexual Offences Act 2010. The amendment provides that if a statement is written on behalf of a child, the child may make a mark in circumstances where the child cannot sign.
Clause Four on the other hand speaks to the amendment of the first schedule of the 2010 Act with a view to giving the accused the right to lead evidence or submit written statements in every instance. This will also allow for the prosecution to have the right to lead evidence or submit written statements.
According to the explanatory memorandum it would now become prejudicial to the accused if the accused does not have this right as well.
It was noted that the passing of the Bill is expected to allow for a level playing field as regards to submission of evidence by the prosecutor and the accused.
The explanatory memorandum detailed, too, that Clause Five of the Bill is intended to provide that the new committal procedure applies to legal proceedings pending the commencement of the Act and legal proceedings instituted on or after the commencement of the Act.
The Business Names (Registration) (Amendment) Bill was read for the first time by Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh. It seeks to amend Section five of the Business names (Registration) Act, Chapter 90:05.
This, according to the explanatory memorandum, will cater to the annual date for registration of business names of firms or persons to be staggered to no later than 15 days after the anniversary of the date of registration of the firm or person instead of no later than January 15 of each year.
The staggering move is expected to help reduce the customary long lines and delays to facilitate the registration renewal process.
Following the reading of the two Bills an attempt was made by the Home Affairs Minister to move the Firearms (Amendment) Bill which is aimed at inserting a new section 17 A to create the new offence of trafficking in firearms and ammunition.
According to the explanatory memorandum for this Bill if any person knowingly imports, exports, acquires, sells delivers, moves, diverts or transfers any firearm or its parts and components or ammunition to or from another country as the case may be without the proper authorisation, he shall be guilty of an offence.
It also states that if any person purchases, acquires or has in his possession any firearm or its parts and components, or ammunition for the purposes mentioned earlier (subsection 1), he shall be guilty of an offence.
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