The Senate has approved Joint Select Committees to review the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022 and the Jamaica Teaching Council Act 2022.
Committee members were named during yesterday’s (February 10) sitting of the Upper House and will sit jointly with similar committees appointed by the House of Representatives to consider and report on the Bills.
The committee members for the Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022 are Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda, and Senators Charles Sinclair, Sherine Golding Campbell, Peter Bunting and Donna Scott Mottley.
The members to consider the Jamaica Teaching Council Act 2022 are Senators Ransford Braham, Kavan Gayle, Natalie Campbell Rodriques, Lambert Brown and Gabriela Morris.
In her remarks, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kamina Johnson Smith, said the two pieces of legislation are of critical importance.
“We know that the Jamaica Teaching Council Bill is one that has been long-awaited, long-needed and has been a work in progress, literally, for more than two decades,” she said.
“Similarly as urgent but for different reasons, the Firearms Bill also requires the urgent eyes of this Parliament and, therefore, having this historic special business sitting on the day of the ceremonial opening of Parliament surely cements in our minds the critical business before us, and in this context, Mr. President, I ask for both Motions to be approved,” the Minister said.
She thanked the members for having made themselves available during yesterday’s sitting.
The Firearms (Prohibition, Restriction and Regulation) Act, 2022 is critical to the prevention and reduction of homicides in Jamaica. The Bill introduces harsher penalties for offences connected to the illicit trade, manufacture, stockpiling, possession, and use of illegal guns.
Meanwhile, the teaching council legislation seeks to establish a governing body for the teaching profession and a licensing and registration regime for all government-paid teachers.
The Bill will also establish and maintain professional standards for teacher competence and practice; regulate the professional conduct of teachers to ensure, in the public interest, that they are fit and proper persons to teach; and create an enabling environment for the continuing professional development of teachers.