Bringing key legislation such as Freedom of Information or Consumer Protection before parliament now will be nothing more than a political play from the NDP government, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie has said.
He told BVI News the appointed hour to implement these laws has long passed for the NDP administration, whose leader, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, this week said he is ‘working towards’ getting a Consumer Protection law passed before 2018 ends.
While Premier Smith also asserts that the Freedom of Information law is actively being worked on but might not be passed before the end of December, Fahie said he remains suspicious of government’s intentions as it relates to these laws.
“I’m not saying the legislation might not be good legislation but it’s a political checklist. It is one in which to say on the podium ‘I’ve passed these things that they have been talking about all the time’. But, you pass them close to election so you might be passing them as a checklist to help you get another term with absolutely no intention to abide by them,” Fahie told BVI News this week.
“Any government that is serious about these kinds of legislation would pass them on their first year or into their second year. Even if you did it in your third year we could take that but, coming into your fourth year for elections; to pass all these meaningful legislation would leave a question mark in the people’s minds,” Fahie added.
He noted that Freedom of Information and Consumer Protection are both legislation that has been mentioned in Speeches from the Throne “year after year”.
Speeches from the Throne are annual statements from the territory’s governor that outline governments agenda for a new fiscal year.
The next general elections, in the meantime, are constitutionally due in the summer of 2019.
So far, three political organisations have noted their intentions to contest these elections. They are the governing NDP, the opposing VIP, and the newly-established Progressives United.