Cabinet Approves Amendments to Coroners Act


Cabinet has approved amendments to the Coroners Act, to speed up the disposition of cases, give coroners greater control over the system as well as expand and formalize the existing procedures for the attendance of observers at post mortem examinations.
Information Minister, Senator Burchell Whiteman who made the disclosure at yesterday’s (September 20) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, told journalists that the amendments fell under the headings of inquest procedures, inquest immediately following preliminary inquiries, the attendance of witnesses, the admissibility of certain hearsay statements, and observers at post mortem examinations.”The Minister will be empowered by the Act to make regulations governing the attendance of observers at post-mortem examinations,” he added.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the promulgation of an Act to enable the protection of the rights of breeders of new plant varieties.
Minister Whiteman noted that while Jamaica has been the source of the creation of new plant varieties, it has not established legislation for the protection of the plant breeds, a shortcoming for which it has been criticized.
He pointed out that Jamaica was on the USA “301” watch list for failure to fulfill all the provisions of the Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement and the USA/Jamaica Bilateral Treaty on Intellectual Property Rights Protection.
“We are rectifying that and we believe it will be of value, not only to our relationship with the US in terms of copyright but to the country and those who are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of protecting their intellectual property,” Minister Whiteman stated.
The proposed law will protect the rights of breeders of plants that are new, distinct, homogenous and stable.
Of particular concern in the new law will be plant breeders’ rights and the necessity of measures to protect them. To this end, the law will ensure that there are mechanisms in place to protect all plant breeders and in particular small farmers who produce new varieties.
In the past Jamaica has failed to protect the Otanique, Ugli, Cowpea and Field Corn, varieties created in Jamaica.
The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in 1994, mandates that “contracting parties provide for the protection of plant varieties, either by patents or by an effective ‘sui generis’ system, or by any combination thereof”.

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