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The Disaster Risk Management Act and other related legislation are being amended to meet modern realities with support for their enforcement.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says they are currently being dealt with by the Ministry of Justice, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and the related parent ministries.

Addressing a JIS Think Tank on November 10, the Minister said there are many very urgent pieces of legislation that the people demand and need.

“You have several pieces of legislation dealing with the various ministries that are important and must be dealt with in a timely manner. In the Local Government Ministry we are looking at the Disaster Risk Management Act, which is now operating, but needs some amendments, including when people breach the protocols, breach the various instructions that have been given in terms of mask wearing, social distancing, no gathering and no break of the curfew – what penalties will be imposed,” Mr. Chuck said.

“We are looking at a ticketing system where if you don’t wear masks or if you break the curfew, the fine will be ‘X’ thousand [dollars]. That is presently being worked on. We also have other pieces of related legislation – the Emergency Powers Act, the Public Health Act and the Quarantine Act – these are matters that are being dealt with,” he continued.

The need for amendments to the aforementioned legislation, particularly the Quarantine Act, was amplified with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Mr. Chuck said this legislation will account for measures, such as community quarantine, which it did not cover before.

“The Quarantine Act is in excess of 70 years old and it really dealt with situations which could not have been anticipated. If we want to quarantine a section of the community or to quarantine persons who have been infected, then there is a shortcoming with the present Quarantine Act and that is why it needs to be improved to take care of modern conditions and modern problems. I don’t think when the Quarantine Act was enacted in the 50s, that it was anticipated that within the country itself we may have to quarantine a community or district,” said Minister Chuck.

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