Justice Minister, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, says priority will be given to the passage of legislations supporting the progress which has been made in national security, particularly the reduction in crime and violence.
“There is an aspect of what the Ministry does, which is very complementary and synergistic to what the National Security Ministry is seeking to do. And, we recognise that it’s important that we give them that support, and I intend to do so,” he assured, while speaking at a media briefing, hosted by National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, on his first 100 days in office, at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, on April 18.
Senator Golding advised that those legislations are among 50 targeted for deliberation in the House of Representatives during the 2012/13 parliamentary year, while pointing to several which are currently being tabled or are in the process of being tabled.
“A Bill was tabled on April 17, and there are about four other Bills that will be coming to Parliament in the next week or two,” he informed.
Senator Golding told journalists that he, along with technical teams within the Ministry, the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (CPC), and the Attorney General’s Chambers had undertaken “significant” work to create an “achievable” agenda for the forthcoming parliamentary year.
“That preparatory work has been important in getting us to the point where we can start to bring quality legislation into Parliament, on a rapid basis,” he said.
The Minister, however, lamented the delays which are impacting the passage of legislations, citing challenges associated with the inter-relationship between Ministries seeking to push them through and other support entities, such as the CPC and the Attorney General’s Department.
“That relationship needs to be enhanced, and we are seeking to put in each Ministry, a legislative liaison officer who will interface with the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and the technical people outside the Ministry,” Senator Golding said.
Meanwhile, the Minister advised that the CPC has cited the need for at least four additional draft persons to enable the office to undertake timely execution of its work. He informed that one such officer was provided in January, with the assistance of the Commonwealth Development Corporation.
“We are also looking at other strategies to try and ensure that what goes into the Chief Parliamentary Counsel’s office, in terms of drafting instructions, are at a standard that will allow for the development of legislation on a more seamless basis,” Senator Golding said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter