Heavy agenda for 12th Parliament says Min. Teixeira
–promises to correct “draconian” laws passed by APNU+AFC Govt
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Hon. Gail Teixeira, says the 12th Parliament has an enormous amount of work to do, chief among which is treating with the “unfriendly and anti-human rights” laws which were passed in the 11th Parliament.
Minister Teixeira during the National Communications Network’s programme “News Extended”, on Tuesday evening pointed particularly to correcting three contentious legislation, that despite attracting widespread attention and criticism were passed and assented to by the then President. The three pieces of legislation are the Cybercrime Bill, the Anti-Terrorism Bill and the State Assets Recovery Act.
Minister Teixeira noted that the Cybercrime Bill originally included a controversial sedition clause that was removed from the country’s statues in 1997 by the then PPP/C Government. She noted that it was the APNU+AFC that moved to reintroduce sedition laws, pointing out that, “most countries in the world no longer have sedition in their laws as it felt not to be democratic and it is draconian”.
The legislation was passed in 2018, without the support of the PPP/C, which was in the opposition at that time. Section 18, of the Bill which previously addressed “Sedition,” and a punishment of imprisonment for five years, was amended to address “Offences against the state.”
Meanwhile, Minister Teixeira called out the Anti-Terrorism bill for having “the death penalty 10 times in the Act,” and the State Assets Recovery Act for allowing the Executive Director of that Agency “to adopt and assume the powers of the Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Chief Immigration Officers among others”.
“This is madness, this is not law, this is not acceptable and this must be corrected”, the Minister stated.
Aside from this focus, the new Government has an expansive legislative agenda which it intends to advance in the 12th Parliament, some before the end of the year.
Minister Teixeira assured that electoral and constitution reform are among the legislation, but advised that since these will have to benefit from public consultation, they will not be addressed before the end of 2020.
“December because, we have to have a consultative process to include the public in discussions on the constitution…what we want to reform in it. In addition to that electoral reform have many different layers that have to be examine both in terms of procedural and policy and may include constitutional amendment and so those two issues will certainly not be completed before the end of the year,” the Minister clarified.