Citing a number of external factors as the cause for not passing a large percentage of the laws that government promises yearly, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said his administration now plans to “review” how the Speeches from the Throne are drafted.
A Speech from the Throne is an address from the territory’s governor that outlines the government’s legislative agenda for a particular session of the House of Assembly.
The Premier noted that the laws promised in the Speeches from the Throne, so far, have been “necessary”, even if they have not yet been passed.
“Some of them (legislation) are not long, will not take a long time to pass, would not take a long time for debate and whatnot. Others may take a longer time so it’s difficult to say that we are only going to put maybe five pieces on the books for the year when, in fact, [passing a certain law] could happen in one sitting. It depends on the kind of legislation,” Dr Smith explained.
Limited resources in attorney general’s office
The Premier also said the promised pieces of legislation are not being passed in a more efficient manner because of a limited amount of resources in the Office of the Attorney General.
“I have confidence in the attorney general … but I do believe that the department could be better resourced and, in fact, we’ve had that conversation just recently,” he told journalists at a press conference Monday morning.
The Premier said international factors can also affect how quickly a law is passed in the territory.
He also noted that some laws required a significant amount of consultation before they can be brought before the House of Assembly.
“I share the concern about having these laws passed more efficiently, so to speak. But, when one considers law, there are many factors that have to be taken into account … There are many reasons why things may not happen as quickly as we like it to happen.”
The Freedom of Information Act and the Consumer Protection Bill are among legislation that is promised year after year. However, those laws have still not been brought before the House of Assembly.
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