Dec 25, 2015 News
The Ministry of Legal Affairs has seemingly taken into consideration the many concerns raised by the parliamentary Opposition and the business community with regards to the lack of consultation on the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill 2015.
As a result, the Ministry has decided to host public consultations on the Bill for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Kaieteur News understands that the consultations will begin on Monday. It will be held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara.
The forum will begin at 10:00hrs. Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams will be chairing the proceedings. This comes as a result of preliminary proceedings which caused the tabling of the Bill to be deferred.
The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Government was accused of undermining parliamentary democracy when it first attempted to pass this Bill at the last sitting of the National Assembly.
Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo moved a motion to suspend the Standing Orders to allow for the Municipal and District Councils and Local Authorities (Amendment) Bill No 14 of 2015, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill No 15 of 2015, and the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill No 16 of 2015 to go through all three stages (first, second and third readings) during the Thursday, December 17 sitting.
But the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) opposition was against this. The Opposition complained that it had only seen the Bill for the first time two days before it was to be passed.
The PPP/C contended that it was being denied the opportunity to fully examine the piece of legislation.
PPP claimed that the Anti-Terrorism and Terrorist Related Activities Bill is an entirely new 98-page legislation which it never saw before, but Williams took the party up on this, noting that the Bill was drafted by Clement Rohee during his time as Minister of Home Affairs.
The local business community had also taken the government to task over the lack of consultations.
In a statement, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) said it was surprised and concerned to learn from the media that these two pieces of legislation were about to be tabled and read in Parliament with “no apparent consultation with the business community”.
“There is growing concern regarding consultation and we would hope that this latest example will be the last piece of legislation done in this manner. Vital pieces of legislation should and must be brought to the attention of affected stakeholders from civil society and the Private Sector so that Article 13 of the Constitution is implemented,” the PSC statement said.
The government compromised and decided to hold off on the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.
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