Three important bills to be presented to the House of Assembly in 2020
The year 2020 should see three “very important” Bills being presented to the House of Assembly from the Attorney General’s chambers, as well as the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a Halls of Justice.
This news came from Attorney General Jaundy Martin, who made the announcement at the High Court on Monday, January 13.
Just before he made this declaration, Martin was preceded by the address of the Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Dame Janice Pereira, which was broadcast from Antigua and Barbuda for the occasion of the opening of the 2020 law term.
In the Chief Justice’s report, she had a harsh word to deliver to the executives of the Governments of the member states of the ECSC, for their lack of funding for the courts, and failure to provide adequate physical courtroom facilities through which the necessary work may be completed.
Furthermore, the Chief Justice had noted, “I am heartened that discussions and some introductory work towards the establishment of a trustfund for the court has begun, but it is time that the Governments set about constructing proper Halls of Justice.”
“You the people deserve proper court facilities which are accessible to all, not only the rich, but the old, the young, the abled, and the disabled,” she insisted.
In referring to her speech, the Attorney General stated “we have heard her (the Chief Justice’s) reproach with respect to what exists in some of our territories. St Vincent and the Grenadines is no exception.”
“We have had to endure the delivery of justice, particularly in the civil High Court division, in circumstances that are far from the best,” he disclosed.
However, he said there exists a ray of hope here, as in Dominica and the British Virgin Islands.
The Chief Justice had named these territories as rays of hope because she had been reliably informed construction should soon start on the first phase of their Halls of Justice in the Virgin Islands this year; and it has been promised that Dominica would do the same.
“…we also have a ray of hope here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We have established a committee, which met last year, just before Christmas, and that Committee is mandated to construct a Halls of Justice for St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Martin informed.
He informed that from all indications construction would begin this year, and ground should be broken to begin construction of the facility by at least mid-year. Apparently “the funding is there” and, “the location is there.”
Furthermore, the Attorney General’s chambers will seek to present three very important pieces of legislation, he informed.
The first is a Legal Profession Bill that has been in the works for some time. “With this Bill we propose to strengthen public confidence in the legal profession as well as further regulate the way members of the profession conduct themselves towards the court,” Martin said.
Additionally, also presented will be a Public Service Bill, that will “further strengthen the Public Service Commission in the performance of its independent, constitutional functions,” among other things.
Finally, there will be an Administration of Justice Bill. “Through this Bill the Force would be in a better position to deal with administrative matters expeditiously and bodies performing administrative and quasi-judicial functions will have an overarching piece of legislation that will assist them in understanding their creative legislation,” Martin explained.